Key strategies from the biggest digital marketing conference in the USA.
I was really happy to attend this year’s Traffic & Conversion Summit in San Diego.
It was my return to this conference after 6 years (!), the last time I visited T&CS was in 2013 when the conference was still held in San Francisco, and I was still Product Launch Specialist at Mindvalley. Now, being a founder and CEO of Tribe47, I came back to this conference with a fresh perspective and new expectations.
There are a lot of opinions that this conference is more of a networking event and all the shared know-how is "nothing new" or "nothing special".
Personally, I totally disagree – after being quite active in the digital marketing space for the last 10 years, I can say with confidence that I have learnt an amazing amount at this conference.
Some of the stuff is a good reminder of the things I used to do and somehow forgot about (like content pillars that I will mention below), and some are brand new ideas or perspectives on stuff that we all do as digital marketers (like different types of content ads).
Below, I wanted to share the 5 digital marketing strategies I spotted while attending Traffic & Conversion Summit and I hope this will be helpful to other digital marketers out there or business owners who are growing digital marketing teams in-house and are wondering how to increase their skillsets.
What might be a surprise to you – or not, if you’ve come across Tribe47 before:) – is that all five are related to using content or branding in order to convert prospects into buyers.
During conference: me and Constantine Yevishkin, Digital Tribe Leader at Tribe47
Content First – Again 🙂
From Ezra Firestone to Digital Marketer’s Team and even Frank Kern (who very recently still believed that good ads and lead pages are everything that you need to sell your stuff online!) – everyone now talks about using value-adding content as the first step of your conversion funnel.
The conversion sequence they recommend for both educational businesses (like Frank Kern’s high-ticket coaching programs), as well as branded e-commerce (like Ezra Firestone’s “Boom By Cindy Joseph”), runs more or less like this:
Recommended funnel structure with an “ungated” content first
This is nothing new, as our company – Tribe47 – was founded on this idea.
We believe you should start the conversion journey from the distribution of valuable content in the form of articles and/or videos. Later, show your sales ads via remarketing only to those users who have actually interacted with your content.
Yet, I still loved seeing the concrete examples of content strategies these guys use to warm up traffic and prepare for the sales pitch.
Article That Sells (From Ezra Firestone)
Ezra’s article for “Boom By Cindy Joseph” (makeup for women over 50) generates sales not only from remarketing to people who visit it but also from direct visits.
Here is an article that generated $1.4M for him from $434k spent on its promotion – "5 Makeup Tips For Older Women".
An article that generated $1.4M for him from $434k spent on its promotion for “Boom By Cindy Joseph” business
Check out the blog post and pay attention to:
- It’s a pretty short article with clear simple bullets;
- Placement of the CTA bar at the top of the page (it’s apparently the highest clicked CTA on this page);
- Double CTAs and their type: "Check the products" link to the products page and "Join the Club" link to the opt-in page;
- Different types of CTAs across the blog post.
We used a similar strategy for one of our clients, targeted at a similar type of prospect (American women over 50).
We tested several articles in paid advertising and were able to identify one that was generating a nice ROI from first-time visits.
What Tribe47 does differently (alternative strategy to test):
- We used long-form articles (2500 + words);
- We used a single CTA;
- Our CTA was focused on the product's Trial giveaway (but this is content for a different article which our team is preparing for the Tribe47 blog).
Our e-commerce team at Tribe47 will be testing Ezra’s approach soon on one of our clients' businesses, and I am curious to see the results.
Frank Kern’s 3 “Old School” Content Principles
When I started my digital marketing education about 10 years ago, Frank Kern’s video courses explained to me the psychology behind the conversion funnels (together with Cialdini’s "Influence" of course).
Here are the 3 core concepts related to content which he used to talk about 10 years ago and which he continues to mention today:
The "Good Will"
Your "goodwill" is the free valuable content you are sharing with your prospects before you invite them to buy. It should be proportional to the sales pitch you will be making later.
"No one gives a sh** about you"
The value you are adding by sharing good-quality content should be less about you and more about "them" – your prospects. Their problems, ambitions, and desires.
"Moving your prospect from point A to point B"
You should define for your prospect:
- Point A, what is the state of his/her dissatisfaction towards his health, love life, wealth or other issues your product or service is solving?
- Point B, what is the successor fulfillment they desire.
Your content should educate your user on how to get from point A to point B, and take them halfway on this journey.
Your product or service should be the ultimate solution to reach point B.
Point A and B are also useful for one thing – which I will cover later in this article.
Moving your prospect from point A to point B
For many years, Frank was a big believer in simple yet persuasive conversion funnels.
He believed that all that you need to make sales online are:
- Persuasive ads.
- Well-optimized, yet simple lead pages.
- Well-crafted email sequences.
- Good content delivered to people who have opted in and are on the email list.
- Irresistible offers infused with scarcity.
It looked more or less like this:
An "Old School" funnel structure, with valuable content shared only with prospects on the email list
Frank ran this type of funnel for years, and he made millions on this.
He didn’t bother to share content on social media channels to warm up people who did not read his emails or were not on his email list.
However, even for him, this approach stopped working.
FB Videos Without a Call To Action (From Frank Kern)
Currently, Frank is hooked on "ungated content" strategies which you can see when you visit the Ads Section on his Facebook Page and review the majority of his ads.
His most recent favorite strategy is running content only ads in the form of a video.
Frank Kern’s FB video ad, value-adding content, no CTA in the ad structure, CTA only in the comments and verbally at the end of the video
Check the video and pay attention to:
- There is no Call To Action in the ad structure, so the ad looks more like pure content, not an ad;
- The video is quite long – 5 minutes;
- He is sharing valuable stuff throughout most of the video and gives a spoken Call To Action at the end of the video;
- His spoken Call To Action goes straight to the offer;
- The copy is short, curiosity-driven;
- It seems to work even though the grammar is a bit incorrect – as spotted by a non-native speaker 😉
At Tribe47, we have a team focused on premium mastermind and education programs. For almost 3 years, we have been using video content as the first step of our funnel. Usually, our main goals have been to build the audience for future remarketing and to decrease the cost of blog post visits.
What Tribe47 does differently (alternative strategy to test):
- We use the Call To Action (CTA) in the video content ads, both in the ad copy (UTM link) and as the button "Learn more";
- CTAs in content video ads lead most often to blog posts, less often to lead pages and rarely to the offers. The only case when we actually link it to the offer is low ticket membership products (like online yoga TV subscription);
- We use much shorter videos, usually below 90 seconds, focused on key ideas and teasing the details which can be found in the blog post.
Communication Pillars – Which I Had Almost Forgotten…
Here comes a small confession – I used to be obsessed with building communication pillars for every project I had undertaken.
And somehow in the last year, it slipped my mind for at least two projects executed by our team.
It is clearly too easy to focus on execution and tactics and forget about the good old principles of marketing psychology.
Thanks to Frank Kern’s and Ezra Firestone’s speeches I got my memory jogged, and this was the first thing I decided to remind our team of marketers of, once I got back to our office in Warsaw.
What are the communication pillars?
They are key ideas put into a memorable framework to justify your solution.
It’s important to make sure that they are religiously repeated across all your copies, ads, content ads, product descriptions, and finally ensure that they have something to do with your product or your process.
Thomas Smith in his guide called Successful Advertising said that your potential buyer needs to see your ads on average 20 times.
So, if you need to show your ads so many times in order to convert someone into a buyer, you had better present a concise message across all channels.
Because confusion is truly the biggest enemy of conversion.
The concept of pillars is a bit theoretical and not that easy to explain.
Thus, I had better give you some examples.
Frank Kern explains this in relation to points A and B, mentioned above.
Point A for your prospect is the state of his/her dissatisfaction with their health, love life, wealth or another issue your product or service helps remedy and point B is the state of success or fulfillment they desire.
Your communication pillars should explain to your prospect what your unique recipe/solution for getting from A to B is.
It can be for example "The 3 Key Steps You Need to Take to Improve Your Marketing ROI".
These 3 steps should explain your unique approach to clients and become a framework for your content production (you should basically talk mostly about that).
Some good examples of content pillars used in the projects executed by the Tribe47 team are:
- "12 Advanced Cybersecurity Skills For 2018" (used for content development; webinar outline and finally a high-ticket online program outline)
- "9 Dreadful Symptoms Of Menopause" (used as an outline for content series; used as a part of a video sales ad)
- "11 Characteristics of Exponential Organisation" (used for content development; webinar outline and a sales page copy)
Ideas For Separating Your Business From Your Personal Brand (From Ryan Deiss)
At Tribe47, we’ve worked with several businesses to build on strong personal brands created by the founder. In fact, Tribe 47 was built based on my personal brand (which btw is about to change :))
This is why I was excited to attend his talk on "Brand Duality".
His belief is that you need both:
- Personal Brand
- Business Brands
They should support each other, but your job should be to make them exist independently.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a perfect example of a businessman who simultaneously works on his own personal brand and brands of his new businesses, and who does it well.
This is however often easier said than done. Especially if you are a celebrity author and your brand is built mostly on yourself.
Still, this makes a lot of sense and is the only way for founders to start truly benefiting from their entrepreneurial nous, not to mention selling the business one day (it’s almost impossible to sell a business centered only on someone’s personal brand).
Communication pillars – again (blackboxing your genius)
What is interesting – when explaining how to separate your business from your personal brand, Ryan recommends creating for your business something very similar to the previously mentioned communication pillars.
He calls it "materializing your genius" or "blackboxing your know-how", so it can start existing separately from you – in the form of frameworks, processes and key ideas.
"Prophetise" your message
Once you have your genius "blackboxed", start talking about it, but not as the "God–creator" but as a "Prophet", sharing useful ideas and principles.
Deputize other true believers
And finally get others on board – your team, your customers and partners to share the content and ideas in a concise manner. In this way, the world will gain a clear and non-confusing message on what your brand is about.
That’s it from me in this post. I hope you have found it helpful. If any of the ideas have inspired you, you have tested any of the strategies listed above or you seek clarification – let me know in the comment box or simply get in touch with us.
Photo: Traffic & Conversion Summit