8 Easy Ways to Create Content Types

8 Easy Ways to Create Content Types

Most of my clients as well as the folks that come up to me after our seminars understand how important it is to create content for their blog. They “get it” that when you create one blog post per week you will have a better opportunity to be found online via search engines. Not only that, creating and sharing good content gives you the fuel to keep your engagement marketing engine running. Remember, all of your social media and email activities have to drive people back to YOUR website! Think of those channels as the vehicle to engage and entice folks back to the party – and the party is happening back at your website. On your website those prospects and returning clients can contact you, buy your products, or fill out a form with their contact info so you can keep the conversation going.

The best thing about most of these content types is they can be repurposed and used over and over again on multiple channels. For example, if you create a great video, you can embed it on your blog, post it on YouTube or Vimeo, share it on Facebook, embed it on your LinkedIn profile page, share it on Twitter – the possibilities are endless!

So with the benefit of creating content so you will be found – here are eight easy to create types of content that you can start off with on your blog or website and then also share on social media!

1 – PHOTO MEMES

A picture tells 1,000 words, so why are you making me read a whole paragraph? Creating photos with sayings are incredibly easy to create using a free tool called PicMonkey. You can take pictures yourself with your smart phone and then upload them to your computer and use them however you like. Just be sure to save smaller versions of them as most phones create high resolution large memory files that take a long time to load on a website. PicMonkey even provides an option to save your pictures as smaller memory files. You can also subscribe to an inexpensive stockphoto website for high quality pictures that are often royalty free (be sure to check). Don’t just go to Google images and start grabbing pictures from there as they may be copyright protected. You can also utilize Creative Commons license images (learn more here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page).

2 – Videos

I create videos all the time. I have an entire website called www.doityourselfwpwebsites.com that features 20 videos that walk you through the step-by-step process of how to build a website on WordPress. At the end of the 20 videos – you’ve created your own website. Since we just talked about PicMonkey, one of my videos provides tips for editing and using images including PicMonkey, www.ColorCop.net and a photo clipping tool called Jing. I also used a very inexpensive video software to create the introduction animation and exit animation. It’s called Video FX and you can create all kinds of fun videos with it. Lastly, the screen capture video software I used to show my screen as you follow along is called Screencast-O-Matic. They have a free version and a paid version (only $15 bucks a year and so worth it!). So get on it and create some videos! ACTION!

3 – Webinars

Webinars are a great asset to create due to all the marketing you can do around them. If someone signs up for your webinar, they are usually more than willing to give you their email address. Heck, they kind of have to because they need to be sent the link to the webinar prior to viewing it. That gives you the opportunity to reach out to those folks that signed up before the webinar as well as send them the recorded version after. This is a perfect example of repurpose, repurpose, repurpose.

You need a few things to pull off a webinar. You need compelling content (usually in a PowerPoint presentation) and you need webinar software. I highly recommend GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar. They are not the cheapest, but they are the best in my book. Reliable and almost everyone has been on a webinar where the presenter was using the GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar software. Constant Contact’s Event Spot software is also a great tool to promote your webinars and keep your audience informed of all the info they need, and then keep the conversation going with additional emails long after the webinar is over. Watch the replay of my Introduction to WordPress webinar here for an example!

4 – Slide Share

If you have gone to all the trouble of creating a great powerpoint presentation for your webinar, repurpose it again on SlideShare! Did you know SlideShare allows users to easily upload and share presentations, infographics, documents, videos, PDFs, and webinars? In Q4 of 2013, the site averaged 60 million unique visitors a month and 215 million page views. SlideShare is among the top 120 most-visited websites in the world.

5 – Tip Sheets

Tip sheets can easily be created in a word document and then saved as a PDF to share. You can be as creative as you like – or simply list your tips and provide links to resources to implement the tips. I can actually repurpose this whole blog post as a Tip Sheet (yep, I’ve done it so click here for the PDF) as an example. I can then offer the PDF for free on my website – or provide it as an incentive/reward for someone who signs up for my newsletter. My choice. Don’t have a PDF maker? Here’s a link to a site that will convert your Word document to a PDF file for FREE. http://www.freepdfconvert.com/

6 – Surveys

Have you ever sent a survey to your current clients or contacts? Did you know you could do that with Watch the Video of Constant Contact’s Online Survey Tool? The survey info will give you many gifts that keep on giving. Polls and results can be posts on all your social media channels. Its easy enough to create pie charts and bar graphs in Excel and save them as pictures to share. Best of all, your customers will truly tell you what they want when you survey them. So often as business owners, we think we know what our customers want – but make it easy on yourself and just ask ‘em! No sense guessing when they’ll tell you straight up!

7 – Infographics

There are plenty of resources out there to help you build infographics. Here’s a great article and free resource for templates: http://www.freeinfographictemplates.com/how-to-mak​e-an-infographic/. All you need is an interesting story to tell and then figure out how to tell it in pictures, graphics and images. Another short and sweet article with a clear cut example can be found on DigitalChalk:

http://www.digitalchalk.com/blog/5-tips-for-creati​ng-infographics

8 – Client Testimonials

This is a great way to showcase your clients on your website and promote on social media. No need to spend a ton of money on a professional level video shoot – you can do it on your smart phone. You may even be able to showcase a video your client already has about their business and then splice in a few interview segments of your client talking about how your business helped their business! Below is a great example of this strategy by Constant Contact. They highlight Kim Hughes from Wings & Hooves Therapeutic Riding who uses Constant Contact’s tools to stay in touch with her supporters and raise funds for her nonprofit organization.

Check out the video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb_hH07WBsk

15 Creative Ideas to Grow Your Email List

I ran into this article on growing your email list and think it is worthwhile to read.   Please let me know what you think.

Joe Grillo

Ryan Pinkham | Jan 14, 2015

15 Creative Ideas to Grow Your Email List

Growing an engaged email list is one of the most important parts of creating a successful email marketing strategy.

And for a lot of businesses and organizations, it’s also one of the most challenging.

You know you have something valuable to offer current and potential customers, but how do you actually get them to sign up?

Luckily, there are a number of tools you can use to grow your email list.

In this post, we’ll take a look at real examples from small businesses and organizations that have achieved success with email marketing and solved the “list growth” formula in the process:

1. Use a paper sign-up sheet (and let people know what they’re going to receive)

Using a paper sign-up sheet is one of the simplest ways to grow your email list. And it’s also one of the most effective. This is especially true if you have a retail store or a brick and mortar location where you interact with customers face-to-face.

According to Jason Alvey, founder of The Four Firkins, a Minneapolis specialty beer store, one-third of his store’s email sign-ups come from a paper sign-up sheet.

The sign-up sheet for The Four Firkins is a printer-sized sheet with the heading, “Would you like to receive emails every week about new, hard to find beer and free beer tasting events?”

This simple question offers readers a glimpse into what they can expect from an email and provides an encouraging incentive.

FirkinsList

2. Add a sign-up button to your email

You may not realize it but not everyone who sees your email will be on your email list.

If you share your emails on social media, for example, many of your fans and followers won’t be on your email list. People may also be forwarding your emails to their friends.

This is something Brandon Stewart, a real estate agent in Dallas, Texas learned when he began using Constant Contact in 2009.

“I realized that if I put content in the newsletter that is really popular, people would share it. That’s been invaluable,” Brandon says. “They share it on Facebook or pass it along to their friends, and then their friends ask to subscribe. Every time I send out a newsletter, I’ll get new subscribers back.”

To make it easy for people to sign up, add a Join My Mailing List button to any email you send out.

 

3. Put a sign-up form on your website

Your website will be the first contact many people have with your business. Don’t miss the opportunity to stay connected with new visitors.

For a business like Allegria Spa, adding a sign-up form to their website offered a whole new way to connect with new customers.

“We’re always giving people the option to join our email list when they come into the spa, but we just recently added the option for people to sign up when they visit our website,” explains Christine Copertino, spa director for Allegria Spa. “The response has been great. We’re seeing a ton of people signing up, and we know that these are really engaged people who will be excited to receive our emails.”

 

4. Collect email addresses when people sign-up for an event

If you host events where people register or purchase tickets in advance, you’ll likely already be collecting important contact information. This is the perfect time to ask people to join your email list.

As Carrie Bonnet, marketing director at Rains Lucia Stern, PC explains, collecting email addresses from event registrants gives you the chance to communicate with attendees after your event. For her, this includes sending a follow up survey to event attendees.

“It’s great to have emails that are connected to events, which are connected to a survey, and then to look at the results. It eliminates the unknown and gives me more clarity and transparency in my approach…which also makes things a lot more exciting and motivating to keep doing it!”

RLS Event

 

5. Collect email addresses at industry tradeshows

Industry events, tradeshows, and conferences are the perfect place to grow your email list.

For a business like Mother Earth Pillows, these events give them the chance to connect with new customers and other partnering businesses.

“We have sign-up lists at conferences, we have one at our store, and we have a sign-up list on our website. Then we have the people who call in or are our wholesale partners,” explains founder, Karen Kowal.

 

6. Look to your existing database

Don’t overlook your existing database of contacts. Colleagues, friends, and family members can help kickstart your list growth.

When Bryan Caplan began using email marketing for his nonprofit Fogo Fund, he reached out to people he had an existing relationship with.

“Linda and I were gung-ho on driving donations, but we first needed people to solicit. After setting up our Constant Contact account, we quickly added an email list of friends and family from our wedding as well as some of my business contacts — all people who could vouch for our credibility.”

7. Offer a downloadable whitepaper

Start new customer relationships off on the right foot by offering them a whitepaper or another educational resource in exchange for their email address.

For a business like Tallega Software, which helps clients keep their information secure, providing a piece of free education is the perfect way to attract new clients to their business.

Once they sign up, new leads receive a series of automated emails with helpful information about Tallega Software’s solutions.

 

8. Ask at events

Any time you’re meeting with customers face-to-face, you have the opportunity to grow your email list.

For an organization like Gallery Above Penn Square, which hosts a full schedule of weekly events, asking people to sign up is an easy way to continue the relationship after the event is over.

“When people come in, we always ask if they’d be interested in receiving emails about future events,” explains gallery and event coordinator Anca Bala. “It’s a really easy way to get people to sign up so we can stay in touch with them after an event is over.”

 

9. Let people sign up with their phone

Make it convenient for customers to join your email list by giving them the option to sign up with their mobile device.

Constant Contact has two tools to help you do this:
•Text to Join: Customers can join your list by sending a text message to a custom code that’s unique to your business.
•Scan to Join: Customers can use their smartphone to scan a QR code, which gives them the opportunity to opt-in to your email list.

Cool De Sac used a QR code on table tents in their restaurants to promote a special email offer. This resulted in 350 people joining the Cool De Sac email list.

 

10. Use a postcard

If you want to give people the option to sign up by hand but don’t have a convenient place for a paper sign-up sheet, consider using other print methods to get customers to join your list.

Boston-area restaurant In a Pickle puts postcards on tables in their dining room and invites customers to “join the club.”

“We have postcards in the restaurant that you can sign up with that say ‘Join our email club!’ and talk about how we offer a lot of vouchers, coupons, free drinks, free parties, and contests through our email,” explains owner Tim Burke.

 

11. Add a sign-up option to your membership forms

If you have a membership business or organization, you’re probably already asking people for contact information when they sign up.

You can encourage them to join your mailing list online by adding an additional field to your online sign-up forms, or face-to-face when people sign up at your location.

This helped River Rock Climbing Gym grow their email list to more than 9,000 people in less than two years.

“One of the first things we did was to start collecting email addresses through social media,” explains operations manager, Jared Rigby. “But we also started collecting email addresses whenever someone would come in to the gym. Our last email we sent to just under 9,000 people.”

 

12. Put a sign-up form on your Facebook Page

Social media offers a powerful platform to build an audience for your business. But it’s also important to move relationships off social media and encourage fans and followers to join your mailing list. This will give you a better way to reach your audience without having to worry about network changes or declines in reach.

The Rock School, a private institution in Gainesville, Florida, used Constant Contact’s Join My Mailing List app on its Facebook Page to encourage sign-ups.

“We get 40 to 60 leads a month from email marketing,” says the school’s vice principal, Jim McKenzie.

 

13. Run a sweepstakes

Contests are a great way to engage customers and generate buzz for your business.

Using Constant Contact, Casey Eidson, social media manager for KonaRed, ran a Facebook sweepstakes where people could provide their email address for the chance to win a free month’s supply of their product.

Over 442 people entered the campaign, 72 of which were new customers.

“We had a ton of people enter the contest and we also saw a lot of people sharing it with their own friends on Facebook and Twitter,” Casey explains.

 

14. Run a Facebook Ad

Facebook offers a number of advertising options you can use to reach a new social media audience.

Using Facebook Ads allowed Liberty Jane Clothing to add more than 2,000 contacts to their email list in a single month.

“This year we decided to give Facebook Ads a try. But instead of driving people directly to our Page, we used the ad to drive people to our email signup form,” explains owner Jason Miles. “We added 2,395 contacts in January alone. For us it was worth the investment.”

 

15. Offer exclusive access

The best way to get people interested in your email marketing is to offer something that they can’t find anywhere else.

Connecticut-based Cedar Creek Productions created a “You’ll Hear it Here First” campaign to kickstart email list growth. Using social media, they promoted their email list as the go-to resource to find out about upcoming news and announcements.

The studio promised fans that anyone who signed up for the email list would hear the latest news about interviews, screenings, and more before it was posted to social media. This netted the studio more than 2,000 new email subscribers.

 

Start growing your list!

Think about all the different places customers interact with your business. Could any of these strategies work for you?

Pick at least one of these strategies and see how it works. You’ll be amazed at what a big impact it could have for your email marketing and business success!

We want your ideas! What is your most effective list growth strategy? Post it in the comments below.

Ryan Pinkham

Content Manager at Constant Contact. I want to hear your story and learn the creative and innovative ways that you’re marketing your…