17 Simple Marketing Tips and Tools to Boost Your WordPress Business
Whether your business is based online or you have a physical location, too, one thing stands firm: you need to have a website. And if you choose to build that website on WordPress, you open up a world of opportunities for yourself.
How so? WordPress is an open platform that allows developers to create a myriad of tools that complement its core functions. Or, you know, plugins. And this makes it possible to maximize the marketing potential of any WordPress site. And oftentimes, that potential can be increased with just a few clicks.
Key Marketing Principles You Need to Know
It doesn’t matter what platform you’re using to build a business, some things will always apply. It doesn’t have to be WordPress. It could be another CMS or even a brick and mortar store. Regardless of your setup, you’ll always need to adhere to certain marketing principles.
StrategyPeak highlights seven such principles but I’m going to focus on just four of them here today because I think they’re the most important:
- Concentration. Some people get it in their heads that they need to be all things to all people and that’s not only impractical—it’s impossible! That’s why when marketing your business, you need to narrow your focus. Concentrate on a small niche and do everything in your power to appeal directly to that group of people. Win that group and you’ll have a strategy for domination.
- Differentiation. Another way to successfully market a business is to assess how you can set it apart from your competition. Now this will require some research on your part, but you’ll quickly find it to be well worth the effort. Looking into what everyone else is doing makes it easier to determine what you’re doing differently and how you can emphasize this fact to make your company stand out.
- Education. One thing all businesses need to do when marketing themselves is to focus on education. That is, your marketing materials need be educational and to provide value to your site visitors. The days of the overtly salesy pitch are over. Now, marketing needs to be smart.
- Lead Generation. Lastly, any good marketing campaign will need to generate leads for your business. This means integrating a means of lead generation seamlessly into your marketing materials. Often this employs the use of opt-in forms, lead capture forms, and/or referrals.
Now, it might be a good idea to educate yourself further on the basics of marketing, but these four broad ideas should help to get you started out on the right track, especially as it pertains to turning your WordPress site into a marketing machine.
Solid principles in place, we can now turn our attention to some of the tactics you can adopt to market your business with WordPress as its foundation.
Crafting Awesome Content
Your first step to marketing your business is to create content. And that content needs to be awesome. There’s just no getting around this one. You absolutely must invest the time into becoming a quality content producer. To do anything short of this is to restrict your company’s potential, big time.
While I’m not going to go into the finer details of how to write, I will offer up a few bullet points about what makes good content, great. According to the Content Marketing Institute, there are a few things all of the best content out there accomplishes (and you’ll quickly notice how much of this falls right in line with the marketing principles we discussed above):
- It’s informative. The best content conveys a message that accomplishes at least one of two things: educates or entertains.
It’s shareable. The best content is interesting enough that people will share it with their friends and colleagues.
- It’s easy to read. There’s a logic to the organization of the content. One point leads to the next, which leads to the next, and it’s all broken up with informative subheaders, lists, and images.
- It fits your brand. If you have a brand voice (which you should) good content sticks to it and is consistent from beginning to end. All of your content should feel like it’s coming from the same place.
While you can outsource the writing of good content, it’s imperative that you ensure whoever you hire has a firm understanding of your brand and your voice. Failure to do this can result in inconsistencies that make your content less effective than it could be.
WordPress is a blogging platform at its core, but you can add more features to it to make content production go a bit more smoothly. At the heart of any good content marketing strategy is solid organizational skills. Seriously, you need to know when you’re posting what, and how and when you’re posting it to social media if you have a hope and a prayer of being successful. This applies doubly so if you have a writing team or feature guest posts.
Along with team management, you also need tools that make content writing and creation easier. Using things like post templates, lists, and image resources makes the process of writing, editing, and publishing new content more straightforward.
Here are a few plugins that allow you to prioritize organization within the content creation process.
Editorial Calendar is a free plugin that makes it possible to establish a posting schedule on your blog and to keep track of it visually thanks to an integrated, updatable calendar. This plugin provides a monthly calendar that you can view to get a bird’s eye view of when your next posts are slated to be published. It also gives you a look at when you need to write posts, edit them, or otherwise complete them.
This plugin also allows you to drag-and-drop posts and edit everything that’s upcoming on your blog right from within the calendar view.
Another plugin you should check out to optimize your content marketing is called Scribe. It was created by the folks behind the ultimate content site, Copyblogger, and adds the ability to research keywords and related subjects for your content, before you even start writing. It also helps to identify potential sources of social media traffic. Once you’re done writing, the plugin performs content analysis to ensure your writing matches your intended content focus. It offers several suggestions for improving on-page optimization, too.
Scribe also includes a Site Connector tool that helps you to connect with other bloggers and social media users for further marketing opportunities.
Listly is another good plugin option because it allows you to create listicles with ease. It also allows your visitors to contribute to your lists, which adds a nice community-driven element. This can be an effective marketing tactic as well. Encouraging user participation is a great way to increase on-site time, which increases the likelihood of conversion.
The plugin allows you to create and maintain lists and insert them using a shortcode. They come in several formats as well including list, magazine, gallery, slideshow, and minimal. You can also add voting and social sharing to your lists with just a few clicks.
Effective Social Marketing
Social media is a mainstay in business marketing. Even so, there can be some confusion about how to get everything set up, especially when talking in terms of site integration. Having your new blog posts promoted automatically is good and all but that’s not where marketing your business on social media ends.
Effective social marketing takes dedication and skill. It’s not enough to post on a whim here and there. You need a strategy for success. While I don’t have the space to talk about that in detail here, I can offer a few time-tested rules from Forbes that, when followed, yield greater success.
- Don’t be everywhere. With so many social networks out there, you can feel some pressure to develop a presence on every network but this isn’t necessary nor is it wise. It’s a much better idea to pick two to three networks on which to focus all of your energy, rather than scrambling to meet a specific post quota on a dozen networks without interacting with anyone.
- Analyze everything. Just as you would with your website, sales pages, and so forth, analyze the effectiveness of your social campaign. Determine what kinds of posts work best and continue to fine tune your campaign over time.
- Be engaging. Social media is a conversation. So participate in the discussion. Don’t just shout down everyone in listening distance with your latest sales pitch. Actually talk to people.
- Show followers you value them. Engaging in real conversation is great, but it’s always a good idea to show your followers and potential customers you value them by offering giveaways, coupons, or discounts on occasion. Offers like these increase social shares and help to build a positive reputation for your business.
There are so many more things you can do to market your business more effectively on social media, but I’ll leave that for another day. Right, now, it’s important to recognize the basics and to use the right tools.
If you really want to take advantage of all that WordPress has to offer, it’s imperative you select the right plugins to facilitate (and partly automate) your marketing efforts.
Okay, I know I just said posting your new blog posts on social media wasn’t all that’s involved with social marketing but that doesn’t mean you can ignore this step altogether. In fact, it’s quite important that you make the effort to get your new posts out there when they’re first published.
Jetpack is a popular plugin that just about everybody uses anyway so why not utilize its “Publicize” module, too? This module allows you to sync up your social accounts with the WordPress dashboard so you can pick and choose onto which networks your new content is posted. I typically find it a good idea to sync up all of my accounts with Publicize then check and uncheck each account based on where I want a particular post to be promoted. You can even type in a custom message that’ll be posted along with your blog’s link.
This plugin used to be called Tweet Old Post but since it added compatibility with LinkedIn in the pro version, it got a name change. Revive Old Post makes it easy to “revive” your older posts and share them again with your social audience without having to manually go back through your content to find things to share.
Using this plugin puts a new lease on the life of your content and helps to solve the question of what to share on those days you aren’t publishing anything new. There’s also a pro version that allows you to sync with several social accounts, use custom post types, connect with LinkedIn, create a custom schedule, and more.
Marketing your business on WordPress means giving your visitors an easy way to share your content with the rest of the world. A good set of social sharing buttons is a first step toward encouraging this. We offer the Floating Social plugin that adds social sharing buttons that stay visible when a site visitor scrolls down the page. This increases the likelihood of shares, as you can imagine, because the buttons are always in sight.
This plugin is easy to install and offers control over what buttons are shown and how they are styled. It works with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Buffer, and many more.
We have a full-fledged social media plugin that goes beyond simple sharing. It’s called Social Marketing and it helps you to build buzz for your business in a rather creative way. It incentivizes your social shares, so users are encouraged to spread the love for your business more than ever.
Setup is quick and easy. You can select what action a user needs to take (“liking” a post, sharing it, or mentioning your brand on Twitter, for instance) then pick what incentive the user will receive for doing so, like getting a discount on their next purchase or unlocking a free download. Other features include a shortcode generator, in-post ads, color options, multisite compatibility, and guided setup.
Configure Lead Generation
Marketing your business effectively means building a successful lead capture campaign to generate new prospects. While you can agonize over crafting the perfect sales page—and let’s face it, you should!—you can help to alleviate some of the stress by optimizing your WordPress site for conversion.
Converting with WordPress can mean many things from getting someone to fill out a form to buying a product. Regardless of the specifics, you can rest assured that WordPress has a plugin to accomplish whatever you need to do.
Here are a few plugins for opt-in forms, marketing popup messages, and in post ads to help generate the leads your business needs:
Turn your visitors into loyal and lifelong customers – and look real good doing it – with Hustle. This plugin is the charming salesman you need to create slick-looking email opt-ins that are so irresistible your visitors will be throwing their emails at you.
With this plugin, we’ve got your exit-intent and scroll-triggered pop-ups covered with slide-ins, widgets, pop-ups, third-party email integration, analytics, and visitor tracking. And there are more features in the works. Check out the project page for details of the latest version.
Capturing attention is key for proper lead generation and our Slide-In plugin does just that. This plugin creates slide-in messages that can be used to entice your site visitors to complete an action. What that action is, is totally up to you. Add a MailChimp subscription form, an ad, a related posts list, or a custom message.
The great thing here is it manages to capture attention without resorting to popups. Popups are effective, mind you, but some visitors really hate them, so the slide-in approach is a good alternative. You can select from several different animated designs or use custom CSS, add social sharing or like buttons, optimize the timing of the slide-in’s reveal, and more. Other features include toggle styling control, positioning options, time-delayed messages, shortcodes, widget integration, and MarketPress compatibility.
Marketing your business is all about getting the word out there about what you do. But letting as many people as possible know about what you have to offer within your target demographic is hard work. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to choose content syndication to spread the word faster.
Now, syndication isn’t always the answer. There can sometimes be search engine penalties for such things (duplicate content is a big SEO no-no). But many of the top syndication sites nowadays acknowledge this and ensure proper code to prevent search engine penalties.
While there are many syndication sites out there, I’ve outlined two of my favorites here as well as a plugin that ensures your content gets displayed on other sites:
This network makes it possible to get your content in front of the biggest content publishers online and increases the likelihood of your posts being featured on sites like Slate and CNN. You do have to pay to be featured here but it may be well worth the expense if you can get more eyeballs on your content—and more conversions in your pocket.
Promote anything you want like blog posts, videos, and infographics and set a daily budget and how much you’re willing spend per click. You pay for the site visits you get, which should be a lot since your content will be placed on sites that make the most sense for your business. And to further hone your marketing efforts, Outbrain gives you access to testing and conversion tools.
The whole idea of “related posts” typically has to do with displaying posts from your own site that are related to the post a visitor is currently viewing. However, the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP, for short) can be used to display related content from within your site but it can also display related posts from other sites.
You can display sponsored content at the bottom of your posts or in the sidebar and earn some money for your trouble. Plus, you can add your site to the YARPP system so your content is displayed on other people’s sites in a similar manner, expanding your readership considerably. Plus, you get access to reporting on how your content is doing.
You can mix and match between free and pro features, too.
WordPress provides you with many opportunities for marketing your business that other platforms can’t touch. It’s feature-rich and allows you to connect with your audience with your content and on social media. It aids in lead generation and content syndication. And above all else, WordPress can be customized to suit the marketing needs of any business, in any industry.
How do you find WordPress helps in the marketing of your business? Are there any particular tools you find to be helpful? Did I miss your favorite? Please feel free to share below.