- If you try to do everything with your marketing strategy you end up doing next to nothing. Focus is key when developing new marketing ideas and exploring opportunities.
- How and when to challenge your current assumptions and best practices on everything related to marketing.
- Nine effective marketing ideas that don’t include blogging such as: podcasting, video series, live events, and tons more!
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9 Marketing Ideas That Don’t Include Blogging (Plus How to Identify Big Opportunities) [episode transcript]
Hailley: Hi everyone! I’m Hailley Griffis and this is the Science of Social Media, a podcast by Buffer. Your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and learning.
Brian: Welcome to episode #118, I’m Brian Peters and this week we’ve got a ton of marketing inspiration on tap for you. We’ll be sharing 9 marketing ideas that you can try that don’t include blogging, which we can all use a little break from sometimes.
Hailley: We’ll also be sharing a strategy that you can use to help you identify new and exciting marketing opportunities for your business. Much of this episode was inspired by our good friends Hiten Shah and Susan Su, so a huge shoutout to them for their incredible work in the marketing space.
Part I: How to focus and identify big marketing opportunities
Hailley: Let’s start with how to identify more marketing opportunities for your business. Because as we all know, there are a ton of opportunities out there, you just have to know what you’re looking for.
Since there are virtually unlimited tactics to choose from, it takes practice to get good at narrowing them down.
Brian: Exactly. As you said, Hailley, as marketers we have hundreds of channels to choose from. And within each of those channels there literally thousands of tactics you could apply.
As many of us might have experienced in the past, if you try to do everything with your marketing strategy you sort of end up doing… well… nothing. You tend to lose your purpose and overall goals. By keeping it simple and staying focused, you’ll ultimately drive more results.
Hailley: Keeping it simple can seem a bit, well, simplistic for a lack of better words. But if you think about the purpose of marketing, it is quite straightforward. The whole goal of marketing is to get more people to see your product and hopefully, eventually, they end up buying your product, whether it’s a physical product, digital product or, service, the idea is the same.
Let’s jump into talking more about those opportunities we mentioned.
A big shout out to Hiten Shah for this section as he has a really great blog post about focusing as a marketer and we’re using some of his examples in here:
And, fun fact, we also had the pleasure of chatting with Hiten on the podcast back in episode number 16 if you’d like to give that a listen. Throw back.
Hailley: Wow, that was over 100 episodes ago!
Brian: Wow, how far we’ve come. I’d love to know how many people were listeners back then that still listen now.
Hailley: That would be awesome. Well, regardless, shoutout to our listeners from the past and present.
Brian: Back to those marketing opportunities. We’re going to talk about web traffic specifically to start. First up, let’s talk about what to do with traffic to your website.
Hailley: Let’s do it.
And this is something we haven’t talked about too much here on the show, but if you’ve been doing everything we talk about each week on social and elsewhere, you should (hopefully) be seeing some traffic come into your website.
But a lot of times, we don’t think about what we’d like those visitors to do. Or what they should be doing on our website. And so the first strategy for identifying new opportunities is to challenge your current assumptions and best practices.
You may be doing things in marketing and have no idea why. Which is alright because we all do that, but the more you can question everything, the more opportunities you’ll uncover.
Brian: As Hiten Shah talks about in his article, at Crazy Egg, they originally used a “minimal homepage” because they figured that less information for visitors to consume meant less friction to sign-up.
By simply running some home page tests, they actually found the opposite to be true—in reality, they’re homepage was leaving visitors confused about the product.
What they found was that a long-form home page (20x the length of the original home page) lifted trial sign-ups by 30%.
Hailley: That’s incredible. And remember as we go through these best-practices, they don’t just have to apply to website traffic. They could apply to all sorts of marketing strategies like social media, emails, podcasts, and more.
For example, if you’re posting only links to your website on Facebook, but finding that you’re not getting the results you’d like, challenge your assumption about what kind of content people want to see. Experiment with videos, and GIFs, and infographics.
Brian: Great point, Hailley. There really is a SCIENCE behind all of this marketing stuff.
Hailley: I see what you did there!
Brian: But when talking about running experiments it’s important to run small, incremental tests, instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. That will de-risk you and help lead to compound growth over time.
For example, Hiten talks about how Kevin Li and Sergei Sorokin of the Yahoo Growth team managed to drive Yahoo’s mail app to the top of the App Store by running 122 tests over ten weeks. These small tests only led to 2-3% gains each, but together they compounded into a 1000%+ increase in the CTR:
Hailley: Such a great example.
It’s similar to investing, right? If you save and invest small amounts of money over time, say $20 per week, that’ll eventually become a large sum of money because of compound interest.
And so just because $20 doesn’t feel like a lot now, it adds up in a big way over time.
The same goes for marketing. Small improvements to your product, social media content, email content, landing page, and pretty much everything else, will result in big gains in the long run.
Brian: Love that comparison, Hailley. You’re speaking to my heart here.
I also wanted to quickly chat about another way to identify marketing opportunities for your business before we get into some fun ideas and that’s to optimize strategies you might have forgotten about.
One way to do that is to simply re-publish old content in new channels.
In other words, don’t let great content go to waste. Go back and look at all of the content you’ve published in the past and then republish and reshare it on new channels.
By taking old blog posts and getting them in front of a new audience on Medium, for example, we were able to increase traffic from Medium by more than 1,200%.
Hailley: Medium in particular has been a big traffic source for us over the last few years.
We apply this strategy to other channels as well. For example, we’ll pull a list from Google Analytics of posts we’ve written in the past that are still receiving some great traffic and simply update them.
New content, new graphics, a new look and feel completely.
And what we’ve found is that by updating old content we’ve been able to increase traffic to certain blog posts by more than 300% in just a few weeks. Multiply that by 50 or 100 articles and all of the sudden you have a brand new traffic source to your website.
Brian: Just like that!
Last thing is to remember you’re playing the long game.
It takes a long time to build up a social media presence and audience that engages with and shares your content.
Hailley: As Hiten Shah says”
“Content marketing is a long-term investment. When you start out, you’re trying to carve out a foothold by building up little islands of content and an early audience. Over time, as you load up on high-quality content your audience loves and shares, these islands start to group together and form continents on the internet that people land on.”
Part II: Marketing ideas that don’t include blogging
Brian: Next up, let’s talk about some marketing ideas that aren’t blogging.
We, of course, are big believers in blogging at Buffer and it has been a huge part of how people hear about Buffer, but, we also recognize that blogging isn’t everyone’s strength and it’s not what every audience is looking for.
There are tons of other marketing ideas you can run with that don’t involve blogging so let’s look at some of those.
1. Create offline experiences that you organize
Hailley: It’s true that so many marketing ideas revolve around blogging.
The first of nine marketing ideas we have for you is to create offline experiences that you organize, like a conference or event.
If you think of it, a conference is really just like in person content marketing. Except instead of sharing a blog post with your audience, you’re sharing a talk. And the scale of a conference isn’t the only offline experience available. I mean, you can do meetups, or even workshops, which I know you’ve done a lot of, Brian!
Brian: We’ve done several workshops at Buffer, always so much fun and really more of an intimate experience with the audience.
2. Start a podcast
On another note that involves speaking, a popular marketing idea is to start a podcast! Which you might already know because you’re listening to this one right now.
Hailley: This is one of the marketing ideas that has really worked for us and honestly plenty of other people as well.
One of the reasons is that podcasts are reaching people in different contexts than blogging and it is much more personal to hear our voices than read our words.
Plus, it’s so easy to listen to podcasts while doing other things like traveling, driving, walking, cleaning, so I think that’s one of the reasons that podcasts as a medium are a lot more popular.
Brian: Absolutely, and when you think about it, podcasts are kind of the best way to talk to your audience because you are speaking right into their ear, as creepy as that might sound!
The one thing to keep in mind with podcasts is that, like other types of marketing, it won’t perform for you if you don’t have a goal so mane sure to set up some goals and a strategy ahead of time.
3. Create a unique video series
Hailley: Another one of our favorite marketing ideas, and if you’ve listened to this show for awhile it will come as no surprise that we’re recommending this, and that’s to do a video series!
Brian: What a video series looks like is totally up to you. We have one every Thursday on Instagram by our teammate Bonnie who does a sort of trivia show. We’ve also put out an entire series on YouTube about small business marketing and have seen similarly great results from that:
Moving away from multimedia options for a minute, another marketing idea is to write a book.
4. Write a book
Hailley: It sort of seems really daunting but I bet it’s easier to write a book with your team that it is to do it all alone, but I could be wrong.
This is becoming a more popular form of marketing since it’s easier than ever to publish your own books. You can also go a little smaller than a full book and try creating a short e-book to start.
I’d love to see a Buffer book one day!
Brian: Me too!
A good example of a company that is rocking it at books and e-books is Intercom, so check them out if you need some inspiration.
5. Teach a class
Next up, this is something I’ve done several times at Buffer with wild success, and that’s to teach a class. We went through Skillshare and taught two separate classes on social media marketing, and we also have a class up on creating company values.
We’ve reached so many people through those classes and many of them new to Buffer because they found out about us through the class, which was a great benefit.
6. Host a webinar (or webinar series)
Hailley: Sort of on a smaller scale from teaching a class, but in a similar vein, is to host a webinar. It’s very easy to set up, again this is another great way to be in front of your audience on camera or through voice. Plus I think there’s a little less pressure thank like a YouTube series because you’re there to interact with the audience and not necessarily make it evergreen content to host forever.
Webinars are also a great opportunity to team up with other companies and introduce each other to your respective audiences.
7. Become a pro at Instagram marketing
Brian: Next in line in our top marketing ideas (it’s not blogging), but it’s probably the most content marketing type of social media that you can do, and that’s Instagram.
We’re huge fans of Instagram and we totally believe it can do wonders for your business and community when it’s properly leveraged. Check out episodes 84 and 99 for more on Instagram.
Hailley: Last but not least, let’s talk about what probably isn’t anyone’s first idea but it works, and that’s forums.
8. Share your expertise in popular forums
Places like Quora, or Slack groups (like the Buffer Slack group!), or other more traditional forums are really where content and community come together.
Brian: Forums are unsexy, and yet they still answer a lot of people’s intent-based queries — and, as long as they’re public, they are highly indexable.
Hailley: Don’t give up on forums just yet!
9. Bonus tip: Create shareable infographics
What more can you say about infographics? They capture everything you’re trying to convey in one, beautiful image.
Neil Patel presents a solid summary of the method and components of a great infographic including how to pick a topic based on keyword rank and shareability, how to find the data (since infographics are usually a visual presentation of data), and how to use Dribbble to find a professional designer.
They don’t have to be a ton of work, either. Sometimes simpler is just as effective as complicated:
Brian: Thank you so much for tuning in to the Science of Social Media today. The show notes for this episode are now available on the Buffer Blog at blog.buffer.com with a complete transcript.
If you ever want to get in touch with myself or Hailley, we’re always here for your on social media using the hashtag #bufferpodcast. You can also say hi to us anytime and firstname.lastname@example.org
Hailley: Thanks for tuning into our show every single week. You make this fun and are the entire reason we do what we do so thank you! Let us know if you give any of our marketing ideas a try, we’d love to hear from you.
Until next Monday, everyone!
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About The Science of Social Media podcast
The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing tactics from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each and every episode. It’s our hope that you’ll join our 18,000+ weekly iTunes listeners and rock your social media channels as a result!