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I was able to finally catch up with Neil Patel, one of my marketing heroes and someone I always count on to comment on the ever-evolving nature of online marketing. Here are some of the highlights of our conversation and “words of wisdom” to help you in your MSP marketing efforts.
Neil is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics, analytics platforms that track website visitors and improve conversion results. He works with companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP, and Viacom to help them grow their revenue. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 online marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world. Neil was recognized as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations. Neil was also awarded Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives.
Neil said he got into online marketing because he had to. He paid other companies to market his business online, but they failed. So, he had to learn to do this himself – and I’d say by his success, that he definitely did.
What does Neil have to say about online marketing for IT companies today? He tells us that you should put your efforts into all social media and online channels. A few years ago, you could reach your market with only SEO and social media advertising. Today, the online marketing world is so competitive, and the Web is so saturated that you can no longer rely on one or two online vehicles to push your message. Now you have no choice but to cover all online options including Paid Advertising, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Webinars, Online Videos and more.
So, where do you start? Neil advises that you do what you’re best at and what you can get the most traction from. For Neil, it’s Content Marketing. After this, he focuses on Social Marketing and SEO. For Neil’s friend, Jeff, it’s Paid Advertising because this works best for him. One isn’t better than the other – just focus on what you’re good at and what brings you the most results. Of course, you must track your results. This is important to determine what is or isn’t working for you.
Neil says that Organic Traffic still works and gets lots of results. Organic traffic is the opposite of paid traffic that’s generated by paid ads. Organic refers to visitors finding your website after using a search engine like Google or Bing. The easiest way to increase organic traffic is to publish quality and relevant content in blogs on a regular basis.
Neil gets almost 1.5 million visits a month from Google via the blogs he posts. When asked about the number of words in his blogs, he believes, on average they should contain around 2,000 words. However, if you can cover your content completely with less, then focus on the quality rather than the word count.
Above all, make sure your content is in-depth. The depth and quality of the content are what really counts. Furthermore, the information you include must be actionable, meaning it should prompt the reader to take an action that you want them to take (like contact you for information about IT services).
Plus, consider incorporating various forms of media like videos and screenshots on your blogs rather than just using text. A Webinar with tips and tricks along with complementary content should bring you results. Neil also recommends that you post your videos and content “everywhere” you can – on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.
Also, cross-pollinate your content across multiple platforms. You can use the same content many times over and in multiple venues such as podcasts, blogs, webinars and other marketing vehicles. Don’t worry about posting duplicate content. Google used to penalize for this but not anymore. However, remember that your content must be good quality.
The Future of Searches: Neil believes that Google searches will change over the next five years and that Voice is going to be “big”. People will be doing voice searches vs. text searches. He also predicts that instead of giving you pages of results, Google will present just one. For example, if you post tips and tricks about Outlook on your webpage, Google will just grab these and present them to the person searching for them. Paid advertising will influence the search results, as will organic. We just don’t know yet which will “reign”. What you should do is test your market – try posting some paid ads for your target your audience and track the results. If this doesn’t work for you, try something else.
Email Marketing: You should always be collecting emails through a lead magnet. For example, offer people free information via an eBook or Webinar in return for their contact information. Once you have their email address, you can reach out to them again with educational and actionable content marketing.
Live Chat: Live Chat is working well today. The more you can connect with a live audience, the better you’ll do. One of Neil’s friends who runs a business called Nextiva gets 1/3 of his sales via Live Chat. Ulistic has experienced the same great results from Live Chat as well. We offer this service 24/7 for our clients. Those who weren’t getting conversions via form fills are now getting them through Live Chat.
Take advantage of offline events as well. See if you can get invited to speak at a business event in your local area to establish yourself as the local IT expert. Be active in your community. Do a mixture of online and offline marketing and make use of every vehicle you can, paid or not.
The Future of Online Marketing? According to Neil, Social Media Marketing is going to become more “pay for play”, and Google Search is going to be more voice-based.
In Summary – Here Are Neil’s 3 Tips to Get You Going:
It’s always great to touch base with Neil, and it’s good to know that the team at Ulistic is working in step with what he predicts. The landscape of marketing — especially online marketing — is constantly fluctuating. However, if you don’t get out there and try, your MSP business will be left behind by the ones who do.
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CEO of Ulistic
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL and Fort Erie, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.