5 WordPress Plugins you Don’t Use that Boost user Engagement and Monetization

5 WordPress plugins you don't use that boost user engagement - and Monetization - Duct Tape Marketing

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Running a blog or online publication is no easy feat. Especially when you are looking to monetize and boost engagement at the same time. Users engage in pages that are built to suit their needs. Therefore, it’s no surprise that they steer away from the ads that appear overly promotional and fail to blend into the context of the rest of the site.

Thankfully however, intrusive ads are not the most common way to boost monetization. In fact, WordPress offers plenty of monetization plugins that enhance the user experience and help to achieve engagement at the same time. Read on to discover some of my favorites:

1. TrenDemon

As we mentioned before, your users come to your site in order to achieve something. Whether its knowledge, a sense of belonging, or entertainment–your site can help provide much of it through insightful content. But remember, content that appeals to one person, does not necessarily appeal to someone else.

That’s why there’s TrenDemon. TrendDemon delivers personalized content recommendations– ensuring your users discover the most valuable material every time they visit your site. Their advanced algorithm detects the most beneficial user journey for each user segment.  As a result, the tool boosts conversions by around 380%. Of course, not only is this plugin great for conversions, but because it guides the user along his or her most ideal path, it’s likely to increase both your engagement and monetization as well.

As an added bonus, you can also choose to monetize on their unique Media Exchange Network, specifically geared for online publishers.

2. Comments Reloaded

Every decent blogger knows the importance of responding to your user’s comments. It goes without saying that if a user takes the time out of his or her day to share insights and cultivate conversation surrounding your content, that it’s both respectful and beneficial for your community to respond. By doing so, you keep the conversation flowing and help to better educate your users. Just as important, you acknowledge your user’s efforts and encourage them to continue to engage in your content.

But what happens when your overworked content/community manager misses a comment? What if they respond too late? The results of this small faux pas can be detrimental to building a robust community full of flourishing conversation. That’s where Comments Reloaded comes in. Comments Reloaded automatically notifies you via email everytime someone comments on your post. This way, you can respond to each and every comment in a timely manner for a better real-time conversation.

3. TinyPass

TinyPass is a simple, yet powerful tool specifically created for content monetization. Whether you choose to charge for particular articles, a section of content, or even an ebook–TinyPass sets up an easy to use pay wall that is simple and unobtrusive. In addition, you are able to take control, setting the price as low as just two cents, making it easier than ever to monetize.

4. Viglink

The goal of all content should be to provide useful and meaningful advice. Often times, in order to do that, we link to products, services, and other articles that help the reader accomplish a specific task. Since these links naturally serve the purpose of the article, they enrich the content and make it more valuable to the end user.

However, as we know, someone else is gaining something from these links other than just the reader. When you link a product, often times, that product is getting a free advertisement or at the very least, an SEO benefit by being mentioned in your article.

Viglink helps you benefit from those mentions. The plugin recognizes specific words in your content and helps suggest various links that would work for specific keywords. The links you add are then easily monetized as the brands that are mentioned within the content bid to be featured. As a result, you instantly benefit by being able to link to the most useful products and services while also monetizing in one easy step.

5. Easy Tweet Embed

Just as it sounds, Easy Tweet Embed helps your users easily tweet a quote from anywhere within your content. Since often times the most valuable part of your content isn’t necessarily the title, Easy Tweet Embed makes tweeting meaningful content instantaneous. Your user simply clicks on a relevant sentence and the quote will automatically be featured in their Twitter feed.

Of course, part of engaging in content is discussing and sharing. It goes without saying that Twitter provides a great open platform for sharing and discussing ideas. That’s why Easy Tweet Embed is so useful for promoting deeper audience engagement. By using it, your users will be able to have a deeper interaction and connection to your content and promote it to their friends.

Producing great engagement and monetization strategies is a necessary part of building a successful blog or online publication. Though it’s important to consider an advanced methodology to do most of the work, having tools to help you get in the right direction is not only smart, but extremely worthwhile. Do you have any more plugins to add? Comment below and let us know.

Nadav ShovalNadav Shoval is the CEO & Co-Founder of Spot.IM, an on-site community that brings the power back to the publisher. Prior to Spot.IM, Nadav has developed and founded 4 technology startups. Spot.IM is his fifth venture. Nadav is a technology erudite and a sports addict.

The Top 3 Tools to Create Your Marketing Presentation

The Top 3 Tools to Create Your Marketing Presentation - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit: Pexels

You are a small business owner. As such, you are constantly in search for new opportunities because you want to grow your business.

Now, let us say that you found a potential customer and they are now asking you to send your company’s presentation. Many times this is one of the first things your future customer will ask for and many times this is the first thing they will see from you. Thus, this presentation is critical for your business. How do you create it then? How do you create this PowerPoint deck that is most of the times exported to a PDF file first and then send? In this article I will share 3 tools that can help you make your slides look visually better and what’s more, I will also show you a very easy way how you can turn your slide deck into content that you can later use to market yourself and your company for free.

The first tool that you definitely want to know about is related to colors. Many times, before you start creating your company’s presentation, you just have a website. More interestingly, not all of us are graphic designers and are in the design business. So how can you know then what colors you can use for your slides in order to achieve a great and visually appealing result? The answer turns out to be quite simple – you can just grab your logo or create a screenshot of your website and then upload it to Pictaculous.The Top 3 Tools to Create Your Marketing Presentation - Duct Tape Marketing

Pictaculous is a very simple and free web service that you can upload a random photo to and based on the colors in that photo, the site generates a color palette. Once you have the palette, no more you have to wonder what colors you have to use for your presentation deck – you just copy the color’s code and use it in PowerPoint, thus guaranteeing that your slideshow will look professionally designed and visually appealing.

The second tool I believe can be of great help to you comes into play when you want to say why someone should choose your company or what makes you different. On those slides you are probably going to name a few things that you can either just put as bullet points or as some form of text. That, however, is not visually appealing and engaging and that’s why I want to give you a hint here – use icons. Yes, not photos, not high quality imagery, but icons. Where can you find such for free, you may be asking? The answer is – on many places. However, the one I would recommend you use is called Flaticon. Now, why Flaticon and not another repository for icons? The Top 3 Tools to Create Your Marketing Presentation - Duct Tape MarketingSimple! You already used Pictaculous and now you know what colors you can use for your slides. What Flaticon allows you to do is to color your icon before downloading it – something that not that many of the other similar websites do.

With the help of this tool you can now design your company’s presentation and mark some of the key points, features of your product or just advantages over the competition in a very visual way. Before you jump and start downloading though, there is an additional note that I have to make – the copyright of those icons. Yes, I said they are free, but if you are using them without paying the subscription service the site offers, then you have to do one additional step – give attribution. How do you do that? The answer is that Flaticon made it quite simple for you and I leave you to check how you do it by yourself. I promise, when you click here, you will be amazed at how much it takes to give the appropriate attribution. And one last thing, even though you can customize and use those incredible icons for free by giving attribution, my recommendation to you, especially for your company’s presentation purposes, are to invest a few dollars and purchase for example a one-time monthly plan in order to download the icons you liked. As of the moment of writing this article, a monthly plan costs less than 10$ and for less than 10$ you are attribution free for one of the most important documents for your company.

The third tool I want to quickly introduce you to is for everyone who creates his slideshow in PowerPoint and once The Top 3 Tools to Create Your Marketing Presentation - Duct Tape Marketingready not only sends it to various potential customers, but also tries to figure out how to market the business even more. Welcome to the free PowerPoint add-in SocialShare. What this tool can allow you to do are two major things:

  1. Create a gallery of photos on Facebook that are actually… your slides
  2. Create a whole video from your slides that you can share in your Facebook profile

Once you create any of those or both of them, you can either save both the photos and the video locally and then redistribute them on other social media platforms thus achieving a completely free social media campaign for your business with almost zero effort. However, do not forget the critical part of the equation here – those slides, your company presentation. A presentation that is visually attractive and worthy of sharing. Not one that is only full of bullet points.

Three tools – a tool that can generate the proper colors, a tool that gives you incredible icons and a tool that can help you reach and engage even better with future potential customers. All of these tools are free to help you create a stunning slideshow. Once you create a slideshow; send it to any potential customer in order to familiarize and make him want to start working with you. I seriously believe that if you spend 30 minutes after reading this article “playing” with the above mentioned you might end up creating or redesigning your current company deck to a new level – a level that you as a small business owner should be striving to!

Good luck!

Boris_HristovBoris Hristov is the Founder and CEO of Presentation Design and Training Agency 356labs. He has delivered sessions in 20+ countries and has not just once been rated as the top speaker of the event. Boris has numerous years of experience as a trainer and has trained companies like Microsoft and HP in topics like presentation skills and presentation design. The fastest way you can reach him is on Twitter where he writes under @BorisHristov.

Is Your ‘About’ Page Ruining Your Chances of Getting a Referral?

Your ‘About’ Page - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit: Canva

Every business has a website, right?

It is your shop window; the place where people learn about you, your brand and the products or services that you’re selling.

And due to our heavy online usage habits, it’s also the place that dictates the sustainability of a company.

You see, every business needs to be liked.

According to the New York Times, 65% of new business comes from referrals.

Meaning that almost two thirds of consumers make a purchase because someone they know has recommended a particular product or service.

On your website, there’s one page that’s more important to securing referrals than all the others.

It’s your ‘about’ page.

In this post, I’ll tell explain exactly why this page is so important.

I’ll give you some simple pointers that’ll help you create a killer piece of content to sit in this area of your site.

[Content that will win you business both now and in the future.]

And finally, I’ll also reveal how to tell if your ‘about’ page is failing you.

The ‘about’ page – what’s the big deal?

This is where your prospective customers get to know you – the place where they form those all-important first impressions.

And it’s these very impressions that will make or break your chances of getting a referral.

It’s a question of pure logic.

As consumers, we use the extra details that we learn about a brand on this page as backup in case we’re undecided about whether to buy something.

A good ‘about’ page pushes a lead further down a sales funnel, either consciously or sub-consciously.

If we’ve subsequently given our prospect a great service, we build on those good early impressions (again, either consciously or sub-consciously).

Then, it’s only now, at the end of the customer journey, that we potentially reap the ultimate reward: the referral.

As you surely know, this is the best and most powerful form of marketing there is.

And it’s all thanks to the first step: the ‘about’ page.

However, creating a quality piece of content in this area clearly isn’t straightforward, otherwise more businesses would do it.

Despite the importance of the ‘about’ page, this is the section of a website where a company traditionally drones on about how many years they’ve been operating.

Or how many offices they have scattered across the world.

A good ‘about’ page will empower your brand and make you memorable.

It’s funny.

For many business owners who are tasked with creating content for their websites, the ‘about’ page is usually given low priority status.

Yet this is a huge mistake – it’s ignoring one of the oldest clichés in the book: that people buy from people.

An ‘about’ page is critical to a website’s success.

It’s your chance to step away from the boardroom and reveal the people behind your brand.

But an ‘about’ page is about much more than just providing an opportunity for chitter-chatter.

This is about creating copy that will help establish some of the main pillars that people need to see and feel before they part with their hard-earned cash.

We’re talking about factors such as trust, integrity, authenticity, personality and morality.

In summary, your ‘about’ page needs to ‘wow’ visitors and impel them to recommend you to the people in their lives.

After all, referrals are how you create a memorable brand; one that will enjoy a stable future.

So, what can you do about your page?

For starters, don’t be self-obsessed.

You have to put yourself in a visitor’s shoes.

Suppose that you’ve just landed on a website.

What do you need to hear in order to convince you to make a transaction?

Which brands do you admire?

Which businesses do you trust, admire and respect?

Chances are, they’ve convinced you through having a clear and consistent content strategy.

To that end, ironically, your ‘about’ page is more about ‘them’ than it is about you.

Take time to establish your core values.

Think about your customer pain points (why are they even considering buying from you in the first place?).

Then map out your content and make sure that everything you’re saying is relevant to the customer.

With all due respect, all things being equal, they don’t care whether you’ve been trading for 10 years or 10 minutes.

They don’t care about industry awards they’ve never heard of.

All they care about is what they can get out of their time on your site.

Can they get what they want?

To that end, what you have to say about your business isn’t really the point.

By contrast, you should actually focus on what your visitors need to get out of their time on this section of your website.

Are you leaving money on the table?

Here’s a quick X-step process to find out whether you could do a better job with your ‘about’ page.

[Hint: you’ll need Google Analytics set up with your website.]

Step 1:Your ‘About’ Page - Duct Tape Marketing

After opening up your Google Analytics account, click on Behavior.

 

Your ‘About’ Page - Duct Tape MarketingStep 2:

Now click on All Content.

Step 3:

You should automatically land on the first option: All Pages.

What you’re looking at is a breakdown of what people are doing on each of the pages on your website.

Now find your ‘about’ page.

Most businesses will see this in one of the top 10 most-visited pages on their website, but if it’s not there, then go through the other pages until you find it.

Step 4:

Once you’ve found the stats for your page, look at the column under bounce rate.

Step 5 [the analysis]:

As you may or may not know, your bounce rate reveals how many people are leaving a certain page without taking any other action.

In other words, they’re either not finding what want or aren’t liking what they see.

Clearly, the lower the bounce rate is for your ‘about’ page, the better the job it’s doing.

If your bounce rate for your ‘about’ page was 100%, everyone’s leaving after reading your copy and you’re doing terrible.

If it’s 0%, your ‘about’ page has definitely piqued their interest and you’re doing great.

But those examples aren’t that helpful.

They’re too extreme.

So the big question is, what bounce rate should you be aiming for?

In truth, there’s no clear right or wrong answer.

Having said that, research does tend to indicate that a bounce rate of 25-30% is very good (and probably as good as it’ll get).

Most businesses will probably see a bounce rate in the region of 55-85%.

And it’s those companies, the vast majority, who can improve their ‘about’ page.

All the top entrepreneurs always say that it’s the little details that yield the big results.

So surely it’s worth putting some effort into your ‘about’ page?

Matt PressMatt Press is an experienced copywriter who has written for some of the UK’s biggest brands, such as Sky, Three and Vodafone. He now runs his own content marketing agency, Splash Copywriters.

The Art of the Ask: How to Ask for a Referral

The Art of the Ask: How to Ask for a Referral - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit: Pixabay.com

The main source of new orders for many small businesses is referrals. The reason is clear. When people are happy with a service or product, they tell others about it and new orders result. Referrals are a strong form of advertising because they carry an independent assessment from a user that your product or service is worth buying.

As a result, referrals should occupy a prime place in your business plan. So many people share their thoughts online these days that we are neglecting a prime source of sales if we are not able to reach out to satisfied customers by asking for a referral.

But how to ask for a referral can be a challenge. How do we do so without embarrassing customers? Here’s how. Check out these examples of asking for referrals that can serve your business well.

Looking for solutions

A common form of referral occurs when a person asks friends or family members whether they have solutions for a problem or suggestions for a service they would like to use. Their friends and family respond by recommending certain products or services. Today many of these discussions occur in online chat rooms rather than directly person to person, which gives them a much wider reach.

You can suggest to your satisfied customers that they respond to these questions by mentioning your business where it is relevant. Drop the hint through an email or even a telephone call if you feel confident about asking customers for referrals in that way. Customers who are happy with your service will usually be prepared to provide a direct response; sometimes all it takes is to encourage them to do so.

Spreading the word

Another type of referral is a testimonial. Someone reviews your product or service, explaining why they like it so much. They are, in effect, referring you to other people who could be interested in your business. Potential clients can see the testimonials on the site on which the review appears, such as Yelp or Amazon, and they will be favorably disposed to buy the product or service.

We need not be afraid to ask for such testimonials. When someone lets you know they are happy with your product or service, you might tell them that others would like to know about it and suggest that they write a favorable review about your business.

Another way to encourage referrals is to provide an incentive for customers to refer your service or product to others. Let them know that if they refer two or three people to your service or product you will send them a coupon or a discount as a reward. Of course, make sure you track the referrals correctly and award them in a reasonable time to avoid disappointing your clients.

You can also make these referrals work harder for you. You can place extracts from these favorable reviews on your website or in your email messages. In that way the reviews will be seen by a wider audience than those who visit the site on which they originally appeared. Of course, extracts from two or three favorable reviews would work better than just one.

Add buttons

Add share buttons to your website so that people are able to refer others to your business simply by tapping or clicking on a link. Say something like, “Did you enjoy this service? Share your experience with others.” Invite them to enter the email address of friends or colleagues.

Should you have a blog on your website, you might want to have visitors to your website punch a “share” button to send the blog to others. That way, you increase your exposure and so are asking for referrals.

With so many people “liking” items on Facebook these days, it does not take much effort to turn your facebook fans into your customers. Soon all their friends will know about your product or service.

Expand reach of webinars and workshops

When you hold a webinar or online workshop ask those who register to forward the information to colleagues, friends or business associates who would also benefit from the information provided in the event.

When the event is over, send them an email and ask them to rate the workshop or webinar. If they give you a good rating, you will be able to publish that on your website as a testimonial.

Use emails

Another way to encourage referrals is to ask at the end of your emails whether your clients know of anyone else who needs assistance with the problem that you solve. Provide them with a link to your website that they can use as a referral.

For example, at the end of an email newsletter, send a message that is similar to the following, “Thank you for subscribing! Do you know someone who would also benefit from this information? Please forward this link so they can sign up too.” Then, you can offer an incentive for referrals as a thank you.

Link with others

Consider including businesses that are complementary to yours to extend your reach. Customers of another business that is close to yours might like to know what you can offer their clients. Together you can reach more people than individually.

Take notice of complaints

Listen to what people say about your business. Even when your clients have complaints, check to see how you could have changed their experience into a pleasant one. Make those changes to avoid future complaints. Continue to do that until you start to receive those favorable referrals.

Look further

Check whether there are any places on your websites, in your emails or other communications where you are not asking for referrals from satisfied customers. When you find them, make sure you include a way to encourage referrals in a pleasant way.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the best way to obtain referrals is to earn them in the first place. When your business does something extraordinary the chances are that your clients will tell others about their experience. When they tell their friends and business associates online what you have done for them, your business is bound to benefit.

When that happens, extend those referrals into other avenues, and make sure you are asking customers for referrals in the ways we have outlined.

Now you know that asking for a referral does not have to be intimidating, there’s every reason to start doing so now.

Delan CooperDelan Cooper is a writer with years of experience in marketing communication. He enjoys meeting new people and reading more books to get inspired for his own book. Connect with him on on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.