As you may have read, “native advertising” is the new hot buzzword in the world of online marketing. It’s likely you’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the coming months, since it’s a strategy that can get you highly targeted traffic for just pennies. So let’s dive in and learn how to use native advertising to get you a lot more brand new clients.
So what is Native Advertising all about? In a nutshell, it all comes about as a result of the emphasis on content marketing which began about 2 years ago. Content marketing, in turn, gained enormous importance as a result of Google changing its algorithm about what sites rank on the first page of search results.
So let’s begin there.
It’s important to remember that Google wants everyone to find precisely what they’re looking for, when they conduct a search. For years, there’s been an ongoing battle between Google, and those who want to game the system. Thus, the rules for which pages get on the top of the search results periodically change, as Google focuses on different metrics to determine which page is the most relevant.
In olden times items such as links, meta tags and keyword stuffing increased your odds of being highly ranked. What’s the big factor now? Time. As in “How much time does a person spend on a page once they click on the link in the search results?”
Which is why Wikipedia pages usually rank at, or very near, the top. Last Sunday, Marian asked me, “How tall is Bubba Watson?” as we were watching the Masters, I whip out the old Google machine, search for “Bubba Watson”, and click on the Wikipedia page that pops up. (Turns out he’s 6’3″, just so you know.) But since I’m there, I continue reading about his growing up in the Florida panhandle, never having had a golf lesson and a bunch of other stuff.
So I’m on that page for a relatively long period of time.
Which back in Google-land makes them think, “Hey this page is really relevant when people search for Bubba Watson, so we should continue to have it on the top of the results.”
Which makes total sense.
Which is also why you’ve been hearing so much about content marketing for the last couple of years, and the power of blogs. An article like this about Native Advertising, that takes you a few minutes to read, is going to get a lot more “google credit” than a page that just promotes a course for Mastering Native Advertising, (that you leave after 3 seconds).
So where does native advertising come in?
Native advertising is really nothing more than promoting the posts you’ve written. However, we want people to do more than just read your article, so the question becomes…How can I use native advertising to get people to opt-in to my list or buy stuff from me?
That’s where having a Native Advertising Conversion Strategy becomes crucially important; otherwise you’ll just wind up wasting your money.
So here’s how that works.
First, there’s no getting around having to write the blog posts. Sorry. I know that’s the big stumbling block for lots of people. But, if you don’t want to do it, you can always outsource it.
Here are some things to also keep in mind about your blog posts.
They need to be somewhat lengthy. Personally, I would try for a minimum of 700 words, and ideally more than 1,000.
They need to be good. Provide valuable content. Make a interesting point. Debunk a myth. Remember, your blog is your soapbox. This is where you get to communicate your perspective, your opinion and what makes you different than all the other people who offer similar services.
OK, that’s the basics.
Now, let’s move to your blog page-or more specifically the frame that appears around it. This is where you monetize your content. For example, the purpose of my blog is to attract new prospects and keep people who are already subscribers engaged. The content satisfies that second goal, but what about the first one? That’s handled by the boxes to the right of this article and with the banner that appears at the bottom.
Now if I wanted to, I could also have a box that takes you to a sales page for a product I offer. That’s how you immediately monetize your blog.
Which brings us to the third part of the equation…Native Advertising. That’s how we’re going to get people to the blog in the first place.
Unfortunately the days of just putting up a blog with some keywords, and expecting people to find it, are pretty much over. If you want to get noticed, you’re going to need to advertise.
The good news is that native advertising is pretty inexpensive. Let me go over a couple of options for you to consider.
First is Facebook. (And you really need to get over your knee jerk reaction that “My clients aren’t on Facebook.” The reality is that they are.) Here’s how to make Facebook work for you. (What I’m going to share is the super-simple way of doing this-there’s lots more sophisticated approaches you can learn later.)
Step #1: Write your blog post.
Step #2: Shorten the link to your blog post using bitly.com (that will enable you to track the number of people who read it which in turn will tell you what to write more about.)
Step #3: Post the article on your Facebook page with the link.
Step #4: Boost the post for $5. Use the custom audience tool to have the article sent to only those people you most want as clients.
Super easy. Supper effective. New clients for less than a buck.
Here’s the second strategy.
Use an advertising service such as Outbrain.com. If you’ve ever done pay-per-click advertising, their model will be very familiar to you. The main difference between Outbrain (and there are a number of services similar to them but I personally like Outbrain) and Google, is that the title of your article runs in places such as Forbes.com, CNN.com, FastCompany.com ect.
Since you’re not actually creating ads for your article, you need to pay attention to what the title is. The more compelling, intriguing or interesting, the more clicks. Also, the more specific it is, the better quality of clicks you’ll get. So you want to incorporate the keywords you’re going after into the title. (It’s surprisingly easy to forget to do this.)
So is Native Advertising worth the effort? I think for anyone who offers hight value services the answer is “Yes”. It’s a key ingredient in differentiating yourself from your competition and branding your uniqueness. Plus, at least for the moment, native advertising is an excellent way to get highly target traffic at an extremely low cost per click.
Let me know what you think. Talk soon
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Mark Satterfield, Gentle Rain Marketing — Author , Marketing Consulting Expert, Lead Generation, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, Get More Clients, Increase Revenue — Click here for his Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube