If you dabble in or even read articles on social media marketing, chances are you’ve come across Michael Stelzner. He is the founder of the very reputable, Social Media Examiner blog and host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. He is the author of Launch and Writing White Papers. He produces large industry events, Social Media Marketing World and Social Media Success Summit online.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- How to create a standout blog post that’s published once a year
- How to format a blog post for the first 2 weeks after you publish it
- Why you don’t need to use an opt-in form immediately on content you’re giving away
To See These Tactics In Action:
To See The Transcript:
Tim: You’ve heard time and time again the importance of treating every page on your site like a landing page. But how powerful can one page be? Even further, how powerful can a single blogpost be? Michael Stelzner, the founder of Social Media Examiner had an idea a few years ago that turned out to be incredible. He’s implemented this tactic once a year since that faithful day and has now generated over 45,207 leads from that one tactic. Along with those incredible results, the post ranked number 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Google and has been shared over 8000 times this year alone. If those results aren’t enough to get you excited I don’t know what is. So let’s get into it. I’m Tim Page, the conversion educator here at LeadPages and this is ConversionCast.
Hey Michael, welcome to ConversionCast. Thanks for coming on the show.
Michael: Thanks for having me Tim.
Tim: Yeah excited to have you here and we’ve got a really fun one. In fact, I was mentioning this before and I almost never say this. I have never heard of anybody doing this before. So can you tell us the results you were able to get from this tactic?
Michael: Yeah. It’s pretty crazy. First of all we get a 22.5% conversion rate that’s brought in 45,207 leads. We get 8 to 12000 social shares annually with this tactic and we show up number 1, number 2, number 3 and number 4 for social media industry and we also get major press in publications almost every single day.
Tim: I love it . You get the benefits, you know the hard numbers people that are like well I want to hear numbers and you also get all of the ancillary benefits of course of the you know, respect that gets built up through the social love, the rankings and the search engines which translate into so many other things. I love it. It’s just so – it encompasses a lot of areas.
So we’ll get into what you did in just a second but first can you tell us a little bit about kind of who you are and what you do?
Michael: Yeah. Well I’m the host of the social media marketing podcast so if anybody has room in their podcast list that’s what I do on a weekly basis. It just came up on three years for that.
Michael: Thank you. I’m the founder of Social Media Examiner and maybe hopefully somebody listening might have heard of us.
Michael: Pretty big blog.
Tim: Yeah. I’m sure that a few of them have heard of you for sure. Awesome. Okay. So why don’t we just get right into it and let’s talk about – tell us about the post itself and the tactic itself.
Michael: So every year, we put out an industry report and what we do is we survey our readers and usually we get about three or 4000 people filing out a survey monkey survey. And then I go through the arduous process of creating like a 50- page report that includes lots of graphics and we call it the social marketing industry report but we’ve put a year in front of it like the 2015 social marketing industry report. The gist of it is inside the report we share all sorts of interesting statistics about what social networks people are investing their time in, which ones they will likely invest more time in the future, how much time it costs people you know, to do social media marketing and all the other ancillary benefits. We put it together in a PDF and we publish it as a blog post. Typically we publish it in May of each year.
What we do that’s kind of unique is we put together a really cool blogpost that talks about kind of what the findings are on the report and then we say download it right now , immediately right now. And we explain that this report will be freely available to download for ten days or 14 days I can’t remember something along those lines.
So what ends up happening is we create a bit of scarcity right because everybody wants to – when they immediately see this report and there’s like 80 graphics, they realize this is not – this is a really valuable piece of content we’re giving away. They tend to share it like crazy. That’s why we have so many social shares.
A lot of comments come up on the blog with people saying oh my gosh, this is awesome, this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. And then after the ten days are up, we alter the article and instead of having it be available for immediate download, we just embed a form right into the article that says you can download it right now. You know, the gist of what’s happened here is we’ve created an enormous amount of social sharing in those first ten days and a lot of bloggers start writing about it as well.
And all of that creates enormous I guess, inbound traffic to the site and then when someone comes to you in the future, they see all these social shares and they see all the comments and many of them opt in to get the report and that’s how we grow our list.
Tim: So the report itself is just a link. They can just click the link to download the report at first?
Michael: Yeah. Well we actually embed it as I think we used Scrbd. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Scrbd or not because it kind of –it allows you to see right there on the page and the link.
Michael: So they can scroll through in Scribd right there or they can download it directly to their desktop. So, yeah right immediately embedded in the article they can see that without having to do anything in the beginning.
Tim: Nice. So you’ve got a post that sums up the results and kind of your takeaways from it. You’ve got the report right there and then after that period is over they’ve now got to opt in to get the report itself.
Michael: Yeah and what we do is we go into our blog article and we just edit the article to embed the form right at the bottom.
Tim: Yeah that’s so interesting. It’s like you’re taking one of your best pieces of content of the year, giving it away, getting all that initial love that SEO juice, that social sharing all those links, all that, all the love from other bloggers and you’re making it available to get all that. And then once you’ve kind of gotten the initial push. Now you put it behind an opt-in form. Now you can use it to grow your list. But you’ve already gained all that momentum and all that juice from it being free. Right?
Michael: Yeah and I think it leverages a couple of things that a lot of marketers don’t think about. First of all it’s enormous social proof right? So when you go to a site, and you see that it’s been shared you know, 8000 to 12000 times and those are the social share numbers. Like every year, we create a new blog post so those numbers vary by year. But when you see something that’s been shared that many times and then you scroll down and see all the comments that’s kind of like wow, okay, unusual first of all right. You don’t see that on a typical landing page or squeeze page or whatever you call it right?
Michael: So this does, that’s the partial benefit of it is just to get the masses reading it and sharing it on your behalf. And then you know once they see that social proof if you will that’s typically absent for most registration forms, I think that helps us increase. That’s part of the reason why I think our conversion rate is 22.5% because a lot of people are like okay, wow that’s actually you know, more than enough evidence that this is pretty valuable. Plus we put a video there too, which might be worth talking about.
Tim: Yeah. That was the next thing that I wanted to hear about. Tell us about the video.
Michael: So I created a little six-minute kind of tour like here’s what the report is all about. But I make it so that it’s super tiny so that you can’t read the words. [Laughs]
Michael: So you know, it’s I literally I record it you know in screen fill for the Mac but I scale it down to be like maybe 4×4 inches. You can kind of see some of the cool graphics but the text is totally not readable. And I purposely make it that way but they can hear my excitement in my voice and I actually in the video, I also ask people to share it right in the beginning. If they like this, please share it. I highlight some of the key findings and skim through the report in a matter of about five or six minutes. So that preview I think also helps with our conversion rate because people are like going to see a little video of actually what the thing looks like before they actually register for it. While they can’t read the words, they can see all the cool pretty charts and kind of see there’s some substance in there.
Tim: Nice. Yeah this is really – it brings to mind kind of this reverse squeeze that we talked about a little bit there at LeadPages where you give the entire thing. You make this big valuable thing. Ours are kind of a lot of videos and infographics to go along with it. You put it all available and you can get it all for free. You can download it, watch all the videos, everything right there for free right on this giant landing page or you can download it one big file and have everything ready to go and there’s those two options right there on the page nothing ever changes.
We’ve seen like 26,000 people opt in for one of these courses that is it’s already free. You can already check it out but there’s thing about being able to download something and kind of possess it psychologically that people just they assign more value to something that they can do that for and it’s worth exchanging an email address.
Michael: One other thing that we do which is kind of unique is we embed social share buttons inside the actual PDF itself. So when somebody does get the report if they like it, there’s like three strategic locations in the report like there’s a cover letter and then there’s somewhere in the middle and at the end where they can click a button and they can share it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and I’m forgetting, Twitter, yeah and Facebook. That drives right back to the actual page where people register. So what we end up happening is people read the report. They often write about the report and then they often share the report and it just creates this constant inbound traffic back to this page. It just kind of all creates this really cool cycle.
Tim: I love that. The only other thing and I want to play a little bit of devil’s advocate here because I can hear it right now. People are thinking oh my gosh this means I have to create all of this content. If somebody says to you, I want you to do this but man I have to create all this content, what would you say to them?
Michael: well first of all, content is the key to everything right? What I would say to them is you know, you don’t have to do this first of all. In my book Launch, I call this nuclear fuel. So there’s like the everyday kind of stuff and then there’s the really crazy stuff that moves the needle for you.
So I think that it’s a question of whether you want the results right?
Michael: I mean if you want to get these kinds of numbers of leads and these kinds of shares and if you want to be written about every day and you want to appear number 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Google, then it’s totally worth the work. But if you don’t want to and then I would not do something like this and I’m going to tell you I don’t think you have to do something this crazy. I think you could give away a great eBook that’s maybe 10 pages long for free just for a period of time, get the same kind of social share going on and maybe not create a video but at least give it away and then lock it and just see if it works for you.
And you know, you don’t have to do a crazy industry survey and do all that kind of stuff that we do to get something I think that’s better than just putting up a form with the registration page on it.
Tim: Yeah and I think part of the magic too I definitely agree that would be a good place to start and then maybe see that gets you some momentum and maybe move it forward. But I do think part of the magic for you is that it is such an insane valuable thing that you know that you’ve put together. I have this thing too I tell people that they should be doing a webinar regularly and I often say well I don’t have time to do a webinar. But there are so many other things that people do in their marketing that wouldn’t generate a tenth of the results that a webinar would but they’re always saying that they want to get better results.
So this is one of those things that although it requires some significant time investment, the return on that time investment could be pretty significant.
Michael: Yeah I mean like if I told you you could get something like this, you know, how much –how hard would you be willing to work for it.
Michael: I mean that’s what it really comes down to. Content has always been something, great content has always been something people have been willing to share and it’s always been something that people have been willing to register for. So if you can combine the share as back with the register aspect, kind of like what we’re doing right here, I think you can have a double win that can benefit you not just for leads but also for inbound you know, search and social sharing and all those kind of things combined.
Tim: And you turn every page on your site into some kind of a landing page, I love that. Awesome. Michael thank you so much for sharing this. This is a really unique tactic and I think people are going to really love it.
Michael: Thanks for having me Tim.
Tim: alright so there you have it. Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner. I love that tactic. It is going to be a great thing for you to implement if you want to give that a shot in your business. Now if you want to learn some additional wonderful tactics that you can implement in your business to see great results you can join me on this Thursday’s live webinar. It’s called Four Steps to Quickly Grow your Email List without spending all of your time on marketing. To join me it’s really simple. Just if you’re inside the US take out your phone right now. I’ll wait. Okay. And text LeadPagesLIve that’s all one word LeadPagesLIve to 33444. So again text LeadPagesLIve to 33444 and you’ll be registered for the webinar. Now if you’re outside the US, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Just go to LeadPageswebinar.com, again that’s LeadPageswebinar.com and you will be registered for Thursday’s webinar. With that being said, thanks for being here and we’ll see you next week on ConversionCast.
Listen To Discover The Tactic Social Media Examiner Uses On Blog Posts To Achieve Stellar Results