Month: July 2022

How to Create Great Content: A Step-by-Step Guide to Content Marketing That Delivers Real Results

How to Create Great Content: A Step-by-Step Guide to Content Marketing That Delivers Real Results

How to Create Content: The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation

If you’re like most marketers today, then you know that consistent, high-quality content creation is essential to the success of your efforts. But did you know that creating amazing content doesn’t just benefit your isolated content marketing program — it can make a difference across your entire organization?

In fact, the average company that blogs generates 55 percent more site visitors; B2B marketers who blog generate 67 percent more leads per month than those who don’t; and o rganizations that align content marketing and sales enjoy 38 percent higher sales win rates and 36 percent higher customer retention rates.

Maybe that’s why, according to research from Content Marketing Institute, 56 percent of B2B marketers increased their spending on content creation in the last year — because consistently creating great content can help companies achieve their goals.

But that content doesn’t just appear out of thin air; it’s the result of lots and lots of planning, collaboration, writing, editing, and more. In this guide, Influence & Co. will walk you through what you need to know about content creation and how to develop a process that works for you.

Documenting a Content Strategy

Content can help your company achieve a number of different marketing goals. The thing is, not all content works the same way for all goals. It needs to be created with your end goal in mind. That way, you can ensure that every blog post, every guest-contributed article, every video, and every whitepaper your team produces will work together to work for you.

So before you start writing anything, narrow down your primary goal. Most companies’ goals fit into one of three general buckets: lead generation, thought leadership, and SEO. If you’re like most marketers, using content marketing for lead generation is going to be priority No. 1 — but every company is different.

A strategy that you actually take the time to document is essential to your content marketing. Sixty-five percent of the most successful marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, compared to only 14 percent of the least successful marketers.

Your strategy is going to be valuable for everyone in your company, from your C-suite to your sales team to the individual people on your marketing team. It’s a centralized document that should answer just about every question someone might have about why you’re using content and how your operation works.

• Buyer Personas

The goal of creating these personas is to help you better understand individual members of your audience so that you’re better equipped to reach, engage, and support them with the right content throughout their journey with your company.

• Topic Research

Knowing what you know about your audience members, spend some time researching what broad topics resonate with them, what they’re searching for, and what they’re telling your sales reps.

Leave the specific, individual article topics for later in your content creation process. For now, focus on general topics of interest to your audience. Look to your website analytics for insights into what your audience engages with already, and do a little keyword research to discover what other related topics you can expand your content to address.

And, as always, stay in communication with your sales team. Your s ale reps speak directly with your audience every single day — who better to ask about your prospective customers’ biggest questions, challenges, and priorities?

Again, you don’t need to list out specific ideas, but getting a feel for what kinds of content your audience is looking for and what your team is prepared to deliver is important to a well-rounded content strategy.

• Editorial Workflow

Your editorial workflow is the process your team agrees to use for nurturing a content project from its conception to its final form and getting it in front of your audience. It creates consistency in the production process, eliminates inefficiencies, and allows all the people on your team to focus their time and talent on the parts of the process they’re best at.

Start by outlining the journey your content will go through from beginning to end. What steps does your team need to take to produce content? Who’s responsible for what? What’s your standard of quality, and when is each step considered “done”? Your answers to these questions will help you create a process for consistently and efficiently creating great content.

Set up a call!

Define Your Content Marketing Goal

All content marketing starts with a goal. How are you going to measure the success of your campaign? Is it with traffic? New subscribers? App downloads? Conversions? Social shares and engagement? Video views? Podcast downloads? Sales?

Understanding your goal early on will guide other important decisions as you develop your content marketing strategy. Such as, what are we making? And where are we going to distribute our content? As Godin explains, your strategy is like building a ship. You need to know where it’s going to sail before you can start nailing planks of wood together.

As Godin emphasizes, “Matching what you build to where you put it is more important than what you build in the first place. That’s why we need to start by understanding what is this for?”

When I’m brought on to build out a content marketing strategy for one of my clients, whether it’s a freelance gig or through my side project, Pro Content Marketer, we always start in the exact same place–with first getting a freelance contract in place, then defining an ultimate goal and backing into smaller mini-wins that ladder up to the bigger picture achievement.

Essentially, attracting new readers to your blog (content), then converting them into email subscribers who can later be warmed into paying customers as the rest of the marketing team works to build relationships with subscribers.

Once you have this larger goal in place, it’s easier to determine–based on your average conversion rates–how many readers or listeners, viewers, users, you need to attract to the content you’re publishing, in order to hit your signup goal.

And in order to bring in enough of the right traffic to hit your conversion rates, you’ll need to promote your content–landing syndications to publications, getting mentions in major industry blogs, having influencers share with their followers, and so on down the line.

It’s not an exact science per say, but the more you execute, build a portfolio of content and promote it, the more you’ll see what your baseline returns on content marketing are and you can make tweaks & experiment moving forward.

Content planning

The first step in planning your piece of content is to decide what form you want it to take. Some ideas will be stronger if they are represented visually, and could warrant an infographic or video. Other pieces of content may be best suited for plaintext. For those, a blog post, article, or eBook might be the best form.

You can gain a lot of insight by investigating which types of content have already been created around your topic. For example, type your topic idea (or keyword) into Google and see what kind of content comes up on page one. Are there videos? Do the URLs link back to infographics? Do images appear in the SERP? Knowing which types of content already exist around your topic should help inform your decision about what type of content to make.

In addition, during the planning stages you’ll want to make sure you’re doing appropriate keyword research around your topic. When creating web content you’ll need to select a keyword to target so that you can integrate the keyword appropriately into your content as you write, not after the fact.

The next step is to decide on the scale of your content project. If your content idea is specific and limited, you may only need one blog post, video, or article to properly address the topic.

But if you’re approaching a large topic, especially something central to your business’s value proposition or area of expertise, you may need to create multiple pieces of content around this one idea. Successful content creators will decide exactly what their finished project will look like before they even start writing or creating.

Here are a few other questions we recommend asking yourself during the planning stage:

Creating content

But, as you write, film, design, or produce, keep in mind that content creation is a living, breathing process. If you notice something is wrong with the angle you decided to take or the content format you decided on, don’t be afraid to take a step back. This process should be fluid and may need adjustment as you gain new information about your customers and audience.

Once publish day finally arrives and you’ve released your content out into the wide, wide world, take a long deep breath. But don’t forget that the content creation journey, from ideation to publish, is ongoing. A good content strategy has a solid creation process in place, as well as a promotion plan for both pre- and post-release. Your job as a content marketer is to see every piece of content along its full journey. So don’t let the creation process distract from your post-publish distribution and promotion strategy, which are equally important.

And, as always, learn from your successes and your mistakes. Each piece of content you create is an experiment. Through proper monitoring and measurement of its performance, you will be able to tell what works for you and your organization. Use that knowledge to inform your efforts when you start the creation process anew for your next piece of content. And by establishing a set list of KPIs and measuring your content ROI, you’ll be able to prove the value of your content efforts and gain additional buy-in for future initiatives.


Developing a Content Marketing Strategy

Content Campaign Plan

Top 5 Content Marketing Strategies + Trends And Challenges For 2022

In this article, we address the five most effective types of content marketing strategies, their best practices and where they stand in user journey.

  • Drives traffic to key landing pages:
    • 72% of B2B buyers turn to Google during the awareness stage
    • Companies with blogs see 97% more links to their websites
    • 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading about it
    • 68.5% of users claim that a blog enhances website credibility
    • 81% of US users find blogs to be a trusted source of information
    • 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions
    • Over 80% of B2B buyers view at least five pieces of content during the purchase process, and half of them view more than eight pieces
    • 62% of B2B companies make a business decision based on digital content alone

    5 Top Content Marketing Strategies For 2022

    1. Web Content Strategy

    From awareness to consideration and conversion, use your web copy across the sales funnel to educate your audience about your services, share your message and influence prospects to make a final purchasing decision.

    • Make your audience feel at home: To deliver a great copy, understand your audience and their reasons for browsing your brand’s website. Define their pain points and needs and deliver exactly the type of content they are looking for at each stage.
    • Be brief: To create copy packed with value, use short sentences and small paragraphs. Focus on what’s really important to your audience. Don’t forget that most users only skim through your web pages.
    • Highlight your unique value proposition: Motivate your readers to keep engaging with your business by showing them what makes your offers better than your competitors’.
    • Present your unique brand personality: To e n s ure b rand retention and memorability , use a consistent tone of voice to help your customers identify with your brand’s values and personality.

    9 out of 10 B2B buyers say that content can affect their purchasing decisions.

    2. Blog Content Strategy

    Other types of content, such as case studies, demo videos, product descriptions, tutorials and client testimonials are also highly effective, especially when combined with blog articles.

    Blogs belong at the top – or, at the beginning – of your conversion funnel, where your objective is to educate your potential customers who come into contact with your business for the first time.


    Blogging best practices include covering both evergreen techniques and rising trends based on the evolution of search engine algorithms and changes in audience behavior.

    96% of B2B buyers want content from industry thought leaders.

    3. Email Marketing Strategy

    Meanwhile, the B2C segment sees a reverse of this: higher average open rates of 19.7% and lower CTRS of 2.1% – due to usual customer behavior and typical offerings of broadly general products.

    Email marketing

    Email marketing has 60% higher success rate at converting leads than other top-of-the-funnel methods.

    4. Digital PR Strategy

    Digital PR is about raising awareness using traffic to the campaign or boosting the brand’s visibility by improving your ranking positions, which is why it belongs to the top of the marketing funnel.

    Digital PR

    Over 80% of B2B buyers view at least five pieces of content during the purchase process.

    5. Video Marketing Strategy

    However, it can belong at any stage of the conversion funnel and user journey, depending on the content it contains. Video content can be adjusted to the specific needs of a prospect on different stages of their journey.

    Video marketing belongs in all stages of the user journey.

    Video landing pages can increase conversion rates by over 80%.

    Developing a Content Marketing Strategy

    In this chapter, we cover the basics of a successful content marketing program, including methods and metrics, the business roles that should own your content marketing, and the lingo you’ll use to talk about it.

    For instance, for the software company Freshbooks, this web page represents perfect content marketing for a prospect who needs pricing information to make an informed buying decision.

    FreshBook Example

    While blogs are a major component of content marketing, they’re only a part of the bigger picture. In fact, in most cases, a blog is not the most lucrative form of content marketing.

    The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing

    Want To Save This Guide For Later?

    Awareness Evaluation Conversion

    A cold prospect cannot evaluate your solution until they are first aware of the problem and your solution. And conversion is impossible until the prospect has first evaluated the possible courses of action.

    Blogs are fantastic facilitators of awareness, but they do a poor job of facilitating evaluation and conversion. And, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, evaluation and conversion are super critical to your business.

    The Content Lifecycle

    As a result, you need content with a low barrier to entry—because at this stage, they have little to no motivation to put skin in the game (such as giving your contact information or money).

    Most businesses will post content to a blog and to social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Once you’ve mastered these two content types, you’ll want to add more top-of-funnel content to the mix, like a podcast or a print newsletter.

    Whole Foods Example

    Kitchen Designs Example

    Facebook Ad Template Example

    CloudMargin Example

    Your lead may be reading your blog and downloading lead magnets (and it will help convert her), but you’ll need content that helps her decide between you and your competitor to move her through to purchase.

    Customer Success Example

    QuickBooks Example

    But Quickbooks could earn some points by comparing their tools to their competitors’ tools as well. For instance, a Google search suggests that a comparison sheet between Quickbooks and their competitors (such as Xero) is another piece of content that should be on the radar of the Intuit content marketing team.

    Google Xero Example

    Xero Example

    More Customer Stories Example

    Xero BOFU Example

    The key to perfect content marketing is understanding existing intent and anticipating future intent, and then, creating the content “assets” needed to address that intent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    FreshBooks Example

    The truth is the most lucrative content assets you’ll create (if you have an existing business) are assets that meet intent at the bottom and middle of the funnel. Optimize for this existing bottom and middle of funnel intent before going to work on generating awareness at the top of the funnel with an expensive and time-consuming blog roll out.

    That’s not to diminish the power of a business blog. Over the last 24 months, we’ve been adding content assets (articles and podcasts) at the top of the funnel and we’ve increased website traffic (think awareness) by 1053%.

    Facebook Lead Ads Example

    When a prospect visits a piece of content (spends time) they have raised their hand and indicated interest. And, because of the magic of ad retargeting you can follow up with these prospects with a relevant ascension offer without even acquiring their contact information.

    Ad Retargeting Example

    Frequently asked questions about content marketing.

    What does a content marketer do?

    A content marketer is generally responsible for creating and managing campaigns that use content to deliver against set marketing objectives. For example, a content marketing campaign may aim to increase website traffic to key product pages by 10 percent.

    The content marketer will collaborate with craft specialists such as SEOs, copywriters, designers and PRs to produce and execute the campaign and then report back on performance.

    What are examples of content marketing?

    Good examples of content marketing include informational-style articles which answer questions people have asked search engines about topics relevant to the brand’s products and services.

    For instance, a bank creating guides around applying for a mortgage. Another example is a whitepaper, created for specific leads to provide thought leadership and an argument for securing buy-in on new products and services.

    What is a good content marketing definition?

    A good definition of content marketing is that it’s a marketing approach that uses various forms of content to attract potential customers and engage their interests in the brand. The idea is to use content types like blogs, videos and whitepapers to show you understand a customer’s needs and problems.


How and Why You Should Stop Complaining


How and Why You Should Stop Complaining

Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change.

Woman writing in a notebook

Complaining is a natural part of human communication. It is often a response to problems or a way to communicate dissatisfaction. Sometimes, however, people might find themselves wondering if they complain too much.

It’s probably not realistic to decide to never complain again, but setting limits can be beneficial. This article explores some of the reasons why people complain, the impact it can have on well-being, and steps to minimize daily complaints.

1. Nourish A Positive Attitude

Change the way you think. Of course, this is far easier said than done, but it is quite possible. Cultivate a positive spin on how you perceive the problem. For example, it is easy to stress over having the perfect child, job, or date. Accept that life is just plain messy. No one and no situation is or can be ‘perfect.’ Accept the situation for what it is and move forward. Keep the pro side heavily weighed against the negatives. When you inevitably experience set-backs, move forward and remember that everyone has them.

The only sure thing about life is that nothing stays the same. Change is coming whether it’s tomorrow, next month, or next year. Some life changes are significantly sad. Allow a period of grieving. Sometimes, setting a daily time to be sad about the change can help. Acceptance of a situation helps you to adapt positively to life’s changes. Take up the challenge of seeing the positive in a situation, even if it is a small good. Think of the experience as an opportunity rather than an untenable obstacle.

Challenge yourself.

For the natural competitors reading this, consider your no-complaining goal a new challenge. Can you go one whole day without complaining? What about a week? A month? Make it a challenge and enlist a friend or co-worker to join with you for increased accountability.

Remember, though, that this isn’t a time to beat ourselves up when we fall short. If you can’t make a day or even an hour, remind yourself that this is a habit that’s been ingrained in you for years; change takes time. The important thing is that you recognize a complaint when it happens, identify the source of the coping mechanism, and then shift your brain (and face) to a more positive outlook. Keep a journal during your challenge and write down your daily thoughts and feelings. With each day, you’ll get more practiced at ditching complaints. Before you know it, you’ll be the positive one in the room uplifting everyone else.


7 Simple Steps to $1 Million

make a million dollars

Stop Senseless Spending

Unfortunately, people have a habit of spending their hard-earned cash on goods and services that they don’t need. Even relatively small expenses, such as indulging in a gourmet coffee from a premium coffee shop every morning, can really add up and decrease the amount of money you can save. Larger expenses on luxury items also prevent many people from putting money into savings each month.

That said, it’s important to realize that it’s usually not just one item or one habit that must be cut out in order to accumulate sizable wealth (although it may be). Usually, in order to become wealthy, one must adopt a disciplined lifestyle and budget. This means that people who are looking to build their nest eggs need to make sacrifices somewhere; this may mean eating out less frequently, using public transportation to get to work, and/or cutting back on extra, unnecessary expenses.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go out and have fun, but you should try to do things in moderation and set a budget if you hope to save money. Fortunately, particularly if you start young, saving up a sizable nest egg only requires a few minor (and relatively painless) adjustments to your spending habits.

Fund Retirement Plans ASAP

When individuals earn money, their first responsibility is to pay current expenses such as rent or mortgage, food, and other necessities. Once these expenses have been covered, the next step should be to fund a retirement plan or some other tax-advantaged vehicle.

Unfortunately, retirement planning is an afterthought for many young people. Here’s why it shouldn’t be: funding a 401(k) and/or an IRA early on in life means you can contribute less money overall and actually end up with significantly more in the end than someone who put in much more money but started later. How much difference will funding a vehicle such as a Roth IRA early on in life make?

If you’re 23 years old and deposit $3,000 per year (that’s only $250 each month) in a Roth IRA earning an 8% average annual return, you will have saved $985,749 by the time you are 65 years old due to the power of compounding. If you make a few extra contributions, it’s clear that a 800 million goal is well within reach. Also, keep in mind that most of your earnings are in interest— your $3,000 contributions alone only add up to $126,000.

Now, suppose that you wait an additional 10 years to start contributing. By this time you have a better job than when you were younger, you earn more, and you know you’ve lost some time, so you contribute $5,000 per year. You get the same 8% return and have the same goal to retire at 65. But by starting to save later, your compounded earnings won’t have as much time to grow. In this scenario, when you reach age 65, you will have saved $724,753. That’s still a sizable fund, but you had to contribute $160,000 just to get there, and it’s nowhere near the $985,749 you could’ve had for paying much less.

Run An E-commerce Business


A business capable of earning at least one million dollars within the next five years. This information isn’t about “How to make millions on the Internet without trying” because that was never true. It doesn’t happen overnight.

The Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) e-commerce model means you ship your inventory to their fulfillment centers, and they manage everything else after that, including customer service queries.

Perhaps the biggest thing to consider very carefully from the start is your profit margin. Join a race to the bottom with your competitors to attract customers while earning less money and you may find your bank account empty.

You can actually make that much money with nothing more than a handful of profitable affiliate websites, either directly from commissions earned, or by selling off your profitable websites within our 5-year time frame.

Look for Stocks on Steroids

The surest way to make a million bucks in stocks is to go for growth and not worry so much about the price. Your chances of earning spectacular returns improve if you hop aboard companies that are generating equally spectacular sales and profit growth. And you don’t need to take a flier on small technology firms.

Consider the 30 best-performing stocks over the past 15 years. Not surprisingly, the roster includes such familiar tech firms as Apple (symbol AAPL) and (AMZN). But their returns pale beside that of retailer Tractor Supply (TSCO), which we recommended in our October 2001 issue. If you had invested in Tractor back then, you’d have earned 9,222%, an average of 36% per year. And if you hit the jackpot with the top 15-year stock, Monster Beverage (MNST), you’d be up by more than 48,000%, turning a $10,000 investment into $4.9 million today.

Finding the next monster stock isn’t easy; if it were, we’d all be multimillionaires. But dynamic, innovative companies that have long runways for growth offer the best chances of supersized returns. Consider Acuity Brands (AYI, $200), one of North America’s top makers of lighting products, such as LED bulbs and fixtures, sensors and control systems. Sales for commercial buildings are growing steadily. Acuity is also developing digital lighting products for the “Internet of things” (the expanding web connecting everything from buildings to appliances). Analysts see sales rising 20%, to $3.3 billion, in the fiscal year that ends in August, and profits soaring 39%, to $7.50 per share.

Also compelling is Icon PLC (ICLR, $71), an Ireland-based company that helps drugmakers test their products in laboratories and conduct late-stage clinical trials. Pharmaceutical firms are contracting out more of their research to try to bring products to market more quickly and less expensively. That creates long-term “growth tailwinds” for Icon, says Morningstar analyst Stefan Quenneville. Wall Street expects sales of 800.8 billion this year (an increase of 8% from 2015) and forecasts that profits will jump 19%, to $5.25 per share.


How to Start a Blog

If you make money along the way, that’s great. In fact, if you help people solve their problems, you’re all but guaranteed to make money from your blog—eventually. Let’s just remember there are at least four resources that are more important than money: skills, time, energy, and attention.

wordpress appearance theme

How to Start a Blog

How to Start a Blog

In 2010 when I was learning how to create a blog, I spent a lot of time searching for helpful information online. I was only able to find it piece by piece on a variety of websites. To save you time, I’ve created this free step-by-step blog tutorial to teach beginners how to make a blog quickly and easily. It’s not as complicated as many people think!

Mark Schaefer

Mari Smith

Neil Schaffer

Step 1 Choose your blog name and get your blog hosting

Blogging Quick Start – Step 1

Choose your domain name

Your domain name is an important part of your blog because it creates a first impression—it is the name of your blog. Also known as your URL, your domain is also your address on the web. For example, our domain name is

So, what do you want to call your blog? Maybe it’s Maybe it’s Or maybe it’s a creative brand name you thought up. If you’re having a hard time thinking of a good domain name, try Wordoid, a wonderful naming tool that will give you plenty of great options. Just make sure you don’t buy the domain from them since Bluehost will give you a free domain. (If you’ve already purchased a domain elsewhere, that’s okay, too, because Bluehost will make it easy to transfer your existing domain during the setup process.)

Set up blog hosting

Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you’ll need to set up hosting for your blog. While WordPress itself is free (see Step 2 below), you need a reliable place to host your WordPress blog (your blog needs to be on a server somewhere on the Internet).

  • We Use Bluehost. We personally use Bluehost to host The Minimalists. If you recommend a company, you better be willing to use their product yourself. We also use them to host several other websites of ours.
  • Outstanding Customer Service. Bluehost’s customer service is 100% US-based. With hold times that average less than 30 seconds and 100% in-house, on-site staff in their Texas offices, you can rest assured that the person helping with your site knows how to help. In other words, if you have any questions, they will help you through the entire setup process.
  • Great Pricing. is a Bluehost affiliate partner, which means that in addition to using their service, we also receive a commission for referring new customers. To be fair, though, we would still use Bluehost even if we weren’t an affiliate—we’ve used them for a long time. Ergo, we don’t recommend Bluehost just because we’re an affiliate (every hosting company offers a similar affiliate program); we recommend Bluehost because they are the best, most reliable option. Plus, because we’re a partner, Bluehost offers a 50% discount for The Minimalists readers: only 5000.75 a month for the first year.
  • Free Domain. When you sign up for hosting, Bluehost will give you a free domain name, which allows you to avoid the upfront and recurring fees associated with purchasing a domain on your own. If you’ve already purchased your own domain name, don’t worry; you can still use your domain with Bluehost (it’s just one extra step).
  • Money-Back Guarantee. Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk if you change your mind.
  • Reliability. Bluehost’s facilities are world class. They have their own custom-built 20,000-square-foot datacenter with enough backup generators to power a city.
  • Friends & Family. Many of our friends and family also use Bluehost to host their blogs.

Step 1 - Get Started Now

Step 1 - Choose your blog hosting

Step 1 - Sign Up Now

Step 1 - Create Your Account

Step 1 - Welcome to Bluehost

How to Start a Blog Ebook

Step 3 Pick a simple theme to make your blog your own

A theme allows you to pick a design for your blog without the need for coding expertise or design knowledge. In other words, a good theme helps you to design your blog exactly how you want it to look. If you’re not a coder (I’m certainly not a coder), then a theme makes the design work a million times easier.

Blogging Quick Start – Step 3

Our blog design is from BYLT, a platform created by our good friends at SPYR. They have several beautiful, simple WordPress themes to choose from, and, in fact, you can purchase the same theme we use if you like.

Simply go to BYLT and find the minimalist WordPress theme that best fits your desired aesthetic. Their themes are feature-rich; plus, once you buy your theme, you will have the same team supporting your work that we trust to support ours.

Step 3 - Blog Designs

Step 3 - Download a Blog Theme

Step 3 - Log In to Blog

Step 3 - My Sites

Step 3 - Upload Blog Design

Step 3 - Install Blog Theme

Step 3 - Activate Blog Theme

10. Purchase backup software

Free options exist, but I’ve never had good luck with them — and for something as important as my entire blog, I don’t mind paying a little extra. (It’s a business write-off, remember?!) Popular backup options include VaultPress, BackupBuddy, and blogVault.

Alexis Grant , founder of The Write Life, agrees with me. “If I could go back and do one thing differently for my business, it would be starting a newsletter earlier,” she writes. “My email list is THAT important for my business, bringing traffic to my website, buys of my products and opportunities I never could’ve expected.”

Even if you don’t have anything to send, just start collecting email addresses. The best way to entice people to sign up is by offering a free ebook or resource. For a great example, check out The Write Life’s Freelance Writer Pitch Checklist.

Once you’ve created your list, encourage your readers to sign up by adding a subscription box to your sidebar, and maybe even install a plugin like PopupAlly. Or, if you use ConvertKit, they have pop-up options built-in.

13. Promote, promote, promote

You’re almost there! Now that you’ve started writing, it’s time to get readers. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but for many writers, this is the most surprisingly time-consuming aspect of blogging. Though it’d be nice if we could just write (that’s what we love to do, right?), it’s nicer to have people actually read your work.

You can try guest posting on other blogs , reposting on sites like Medium and LinkedIn, or including links when writing responses in forums, Facebook groups, or on Quora. Just make sure you’re adding value — and not spamming people with your URL.

Social media is another great way to get more traffic and grow your author following . Instead of merely tooting your own horn, be sure to interact with editors, writers and bloggers, too.Share their content with your community, comment on their posts and support them when and where you can. Hopefully, they’ll return the favor!

In the end, creating a successful blog is about hard work and consistency. Keep posting helpful and engaging content, optimizing it for SEO, and sharing it with your networks — and you’ll soon see your new blog start to blossom.


Email automation

GoViral (formerly SmartBribe) is a 100% free tool that encourages new email subscribers to share your opt-in with their friends. It customizes your thank you page to include a “bonus” incentive for them to share on social media and email. Once they share, they get access to the free bonus.

welcome email pipcorn

How to Grow Your Business with Email Marketing Automation

It’s no secret that the strongest relationships are built on personal connections. Without a personal connection, relationships are usually short-lived and unfruitful for both parties. The same is true in marketing. According to SmarterHQ, “72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging.” But how can you personalize at scale? Enter email marketing automation.

Email marketing automation is a series of triggers along the customer journey that will spontaneously send the customer a personalized email. Each email is curated specifically for each touchpoint, organically moving the customer along in the sales funnel.

Here at Campaign Monitor, we’ve found that automated emails create 320% more revenue than non-automated emails. What differentiates an automated email campaign from any other email marketing campaign is that it’s personalized to the consumer, rather than just a mass mailing with broad messaging. According to Accenture, consumers are over 90% more likely to shop with your brand when they have a personalized experience. So, if you’re wondering how you can use email automation to grow your business, you’re in the right place. Let’s dig in.

How does automated email sending work?

  1. Install an email marketing tool. To start, you’ll need easy-to-use email automation software (like Omnisend).
  2. Build and segment an email list. Have a list of subscribers to send automated emails to—it can be built organically with signup forms. Break up your list into smaller segments based on information like interests or behaviors.
  3. Set up an automation trigger. A trigger is an event or condition that will activate the automated campaign (this includes a newsletter signup, an abandoned cart, a subscriber’s birthday, a lack of engagement for X days, etc.)
  4. Create email campaigns. Design the automated email by creating images, texts, call-to-action-buttons, discounts, brand logos, etc.
  5. Activate the automation. Choose the time to send the automated campaign and turn it on. Later, monitor how well it performs to find opportunities to improve.

Email Automation Tools

Email Automation Tools for List Building

1. OptinMonster

optinmonster is the best lead generation software ever!

OptinMonster is a premium WordPress plugin that gives you the power to automatically collect and segment email addresses. These can be segmented based on the user’s activity, inactivity, cookies, geographical location, and more.

It also offers seamless integration with many of the leading email service providers. That means you can exponentially grow your email list with OptinMonster and then send personalized automated emails via your email service provider.

optinmonster campaign examples

Email Marketing Automation with OptinMonster

OptinMonster also offers a Real-Time Behavior Automation engine. This powerful engine identifies what users are looking for and shows the perfect optin campaign that’s more likely to convert them into customers.

cookie targeting real time behavior email automation

2. RafflePress

rafflepress is the best wordpress giveaway plugin

Integrated Email Marketing Automation Tools

3. Contactually

contactually real estate crm

Contactually is one of the neatest tools on the list. It’s a CRM platform that focuses on vetting contacts. First, it gathers contacts from your email inbox, website, and social media profiles. Then Contactually collects as much information as possible to guide your messaging.

4. HubSpot


Pricing: HubSpot has several marketing automation tools for free. Paid plans range from $50/month for the Starter plan to the Enterprise plan starting at $1200/month. Their pricing will increase on November 1, 2019.

5. Intercom

intercom automated email conversations

Suppose you’re trying to teach your customers/users about your app. In that case, Intercom lets you send automated email conversations directly in the app. This gives them assistance where they’re most likely to see it.

6. BenchmarkONE

benchmarkone crm automation

7. E-goi

e-goi homepage

8. Act-On

act-on marketing automation

9. LeadSquared

leadsquared lead conversion platform

Pricing: Plans with marketing automation features start at $150/month (billed annually). However, automation workflows are only in the Basic plan and above, starting at $400/month (billed annually).

10. SAP Sales Cloud (Formerly CallidusCloud)

calliduscloud lead qualifying tool

Another great lead qualifying tool is SAP Sales Cloud (formerly CallidusCloud). This technology automates the process of identifying promising leads while weeding out ones that are deemed to be unqualified or high-risk/low-reward.

11. Marketo

marketo automated email marketing

Tracking and Monitoring Tools for Email

12. GetNotify


GetNotify is a free tool that notifies you the instant your email gets read by the recipient. You just send your marketing emails like normal, but add “” to the recipient’s email address. Your recipient will not see this, and they will not know that you are tracking their opens.

Email automation

Mailshake offers excellent automated email tools, especially if you’re doing cold outreach. With lots of plugins, it allows you to build out your mailing list, clean it to make sure you’ve got live emails, and schedule the perfect email sequence. It’s also got great social integrations!

Examples of Great Automated Email Marketing Campaigns - Newsletter email from Neil Patel

What is Email Automation and Why You Should Use it in Your Campaigns

Your business is likely familiar with transactional email and marketing email as critical tools used to provide operational updates (such as a receipt) or promotional messages (like a newsletter or coupon). In this “how-to” guide, we introduce and explain how to send a third category of email that can add tremendous value and complement your existing email campaigns: automated email.

Automated email, also referred to as triggered email or behavior-driven email, is any message automatically sent from your email service provider (ESP) in direct response to an individual user’s specific actions made (or not made) on your website or web app.

Transactional emails are highly valuable to consumers because they provide crucial information like receipts or password resets, but because of CAN-SPAM and CASL rules and guidelines, these emails can’t provide or contain much promotional content. Traditional marketing email is critical for sending announcements to large segments of your customer base, like promotions or newsletters, but they don’t offer the one-to-one communication customers have come to expect.

Email automation provides benefits from both transactional and marketing email because it allows you to follow up with individual customers automatically, like transactional email, but also allows for more robust messaging opportunities like you get from marketing email. By bridging the gap between transactional and marketing email, automated email provides a scalable and efficient method for marketers to send extremely user-specific messages in a responsive way.

Relevance – When a user receives an automated email, it’s because they’ve taken an action which triggered a workflow. As a result, the message they receive is highly relevant to them and they’re more likely to open and engage with the email.

Engaging content – Automated email content is designed to increase user engagement with your app or website. This could mean teaching new customers how to use your product, encouraging users to give feedback, or providing a lapsed customer with an incentive to return. For example, you might want to set up an automated “how-to” email trigger if certain people have signed up for your service but have yet to start using it.

Brand building – As a highly personal communication channel, automated email serves as an extension of your brand. It gives you the opportunity to strengthen the connection between you and your customers by communicating thought leadership, assisting with cross-sells, or by sharing timely updates about features they haven’t used yet. Simply put, email automation drives user engagement. Customers are much more likely to open, read, and take action with an automated email.

email automation

Loyalty – Customers who’ve been helped through the onboarding process or who have received timely cues to follow through on desired actions are more likely to feel successful and recommend your brand to others.

Retention – Customers feel more valued when they receive personalized assistance and real-time communication, which translates to sticky users who you can count on as consistent, long-term users.

Revenue – Customers are more likely to finish entering their billing information, upgrade their account, or return as an active user when they’re messaged at the perfect time with just the right prompt.

Action – One of the reasons automated email is so powerful is that it targets people who have already engaged with your brand’s website or app. This means they are further down the sales funnel and more likely to take the steps you want them to as customers.

When to Use Automated Email Marketing

1. Abandoned Carts

2. Sending Automated Email Newsletters to Subscribers

If you’ve got their email address, you’ve got an opportunity to keep the connection alive and build a relationship (hopefully until they become a repeat customer). Just having someone’s email doesn’t achieve this, though, and instead, you’ve got to be able to offer something valuable.

3. Promotional Emails

4. Welcome Emails

It allows you to set expectations and explain the value proposition of receiving your emails. Once someone has a good idea of what they’re going to receive from your emails, they’re more likely to open them and interact with your content.

5. Automatic Replies to Customer Complaints

You can’t be monitoring your inbox 24/7, so it’s just not possible to be able to respond to each complaint right away. What you can do is set up an automated email that explains your complaint process and ensures you’re working on fixing the issue.

When to Not Use Automated Emails

You can personalize automated emails, but there’s a limit to what you can do. With automated email marketing, you’re reliant on segments to personalize your communications. While putting someone in a segment means they’re not just any person, it still doesn’t mean they’re an individual.

In many cases, segmenting email subscribers works because it’s an effective way of offering them personalized content. However, there are times when you need to treat people as an individual, and automated emails don’t work in these cases.

This is something you need to keep in mind when setting up your automated email marketing. In what situations does it pay to address people as part of a segment, and when do you need to address them as an individual?

Email automation

For instance, AWeber created a guide to help podcasters with their email marketing. The first email delivers the guide, and the rest of the series provides other resources and tips just for podcasters. This highly targeted email campaign works well when you know what your audience is most interested in.

ActvieCampaign email automation software

What is email automation?

Email automation is the process of automatically sending marketing and sales emails to subscribers. All based on the actions—or inactions—of the people receiving them. Rules are pre-set about which emails get sent, when to send them, and what personalized information to include. So marketing and sales teams can reach leads with personalized messaging at the right moment—all while doing less work.

For example, let’s say you run an ecommerce marketing team. Every visitor to your site is greeted with a webform popup offering a 10% discount on their first purchase when they subscribe to your email list. Every time you get a new subscriber, you manually enter their name into the salutation and send it off with the promo code.

The problem is, there’s no way you can drop everything to send an email every time a new subscriber fills in your webform. It may take hours or even days to respond, depending on your workload. By then, the lead’s interest may have faded, or they’ve already moved on to a competitor who was more responsive.

The goal of automating emails is to eliminate the need to manually personalize and send marketing, sales, and prospecting emails. This ultimately leads to higher conversion rates and a more streamlined workflow for your team. Along with a leg-up on any competitors who are still sending emails the old fashioned way.

Sales email automation tools

A sales email automation tool is a software platform that’s sort of like a secretary for your sales team. You write your sales emails, drop them on the secretary’s desk with a schedule of when they need to go out (and under what circumstances), and then go about your other tasks. While you’re busy closing deals and building relationships with clients, the secretary is putting names and personal details into each message. Then sending emails and follow-ups to leads at the right moment and taking notes about what actions the leads have taken.

The thing is, even a human secretary wouldn’t be able to keep up with sales force automation tools. This type of software is better than humans at handling large volumes of emails. Sending emails at the exact right moment and capturing information about how the recipient responded is impossible without it. Plus, computers don’t take lunch breaks or vacations. The result? You make more sales by doing less work.

Marketing email automation

No matter how much people may complain about emails clogging up their inboxes, the fact is that email marketing works. With a return of $36 for every 800 spent, email marketing remains unmatched in its ability to draw leads into the sales funnel. But even that incredible ROI can be improved upon — which is exactly what marketing email automation is for.

At the top of the funnel, people are still on the fence about purchasing. It’s also likely that they’re checking out your competition and comparing prices and reviews to see which business will bring them more value. But no matter how well your marketing materials show off the quality of your product or your affordable prices, if those materials aren’t seen at the right time, they may as well not exist.

It also allows your marketers to boost their email productivity by putting the task of sending and personalizing messages on autopilot. As long as you set up the correct triggers and rules, the leads at the top of your funnel will be less likely to fall out of it due to disinterest or lack of engagement.

Email automation examples and case studies

Example #1: the welcome email

Let’s revisit the case from earlier with our theoretical ecommerce business. After just two weeks, the subscriber list has grown by 200 emails. Yet strangely, very few of them opened the email and clicked through to the website. And only one took advantage of the 10% off promotional code. To add to that frustration, the owner realizes that now they have too many contacts to manage. It’s becoming difficult to keep them organized with spreadsheets alone.

The owner decides to kill two birds with one stone. They enroll in a free CRM trial, which includes contact management and the ability to automate emails. Using their new customer relationship management platform, they set up the welcome automation trigger.

In this case, the trigger is when a new website visitor fills in and submits the webform in exchange for the 10% promotional code. The owner also adds a personalization tag into the welcome email, so that the subscriber’s name automatically appears in the salutation.

Triggered emails have about 70% higher open rates than traditional emails, and 152% higher click through rates. Let’s apply these real-world statistics to our scenario to illustrate how the simple act of using email automation software could help improve responses.

Without changing the sales email subject line or messaging, the owner has already risen above industry benchmarks for open rates. The key is to send the email at the instant you know the lead’s interest is highest. Like the exact moment they submitted the form.

Example #1: the follow-up email

Sales follow up emails are a vital tool for rekindling interest in leads who need a little nudge to take the next step. For this example, let’s imagine a larger B2B setting. Our theoretical business sells a wide range of industrial machinery. The sales process is very complex, which means the sales reps have very little time for personalizing and sending emails.

One of the company’s salespeople recently attended a trade show where they spoke with dozens of new contacts. While on location, they used their mobile CRM app to collect contact details about each new lead. With a promise to send more information about the specific products that will help them solve their problems.

Before the salesperson has stepped foot back in the office, the email automation tool has already sent personalized follow-up emails. But it’s a busy time of year, and the first round of follow up emails doesn’t get many bites. The company decides to set up a chain of five follow up emails Each one set to be delivered once a week for five weeks. If the lead doesn’t take any action, their contact details are put aside for several months. After which time they’ll try again with a new round of outreach.

Now let’s imagine that one of the leads who does bite. They noticed the first two follow up emails, but were too busy to schedule a meeting. During the third week, however, the lead’s schedule has slowed down a bit. And they finally decide to take up the call to action and schedule a meeting with the sales rep.

Using the sales automation scheduling link in the email, they click through to an automated scheduler and select an available time slot in the sales rep’s schedule. This sets off another trigger — to stop the chain of email follow ups. This is a great way to show courtesy to interested leads, since it would be annoying to see another follow up email the week after they’ve already taken the next step.

What was the salesperson doing that whole time? Not emailing, that’s for sure. The time saved by not sending hundreds of emails might have been spent developing a stronger pitch, mentoring a new salesperson. Or doing any number of other tasks that improve the company’s selling power.

Automated email follow up

Many salespeople don’t follow up with leads either because they’re wary of seeming too pushy. Or they’re too busy to send the appropriate number of follow ups. But not following up with leads can cost you. Statistics show that 80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th follow up. That means that if you give up after four follow ups, you’re cutting yourself off from potential earnings.

When it comes to sealing the deal, persistence is key. But persistence takes energy, as well as an “I-don’t-care-if-I’m-bothering-them” kind of approach. Automated email follow ups allow salespeople to be persistent without spending the energy or worrying about being pushy. Plus, if you’re courteous and strategic about how many emails you’re sending and when, you’ll never have to worry again about coming across as too assertive.

Automated email template

There’s no one-size-fits all approach to writing a follow up email. Still, email templates are excellent jumping off points to help you establish a clear, conversational flow to your messaging. Plus, they’re a helpful aid in seeing how many opportunities there are for personalizing your emails, which is key to building stronger customer relationships.