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Content Marketing and advertising are big topics at the moment. I come from a commercial advertising background but I now work much more in a content marketing relm, so the journey of learning the difference has been very important for me. Some people hate commercial advertising and love content marketing and visa versa. I personally see them as having different purposes – sometimes one suits your business more than the other. We’ve included some examples from our own work so you can see.

 

So, what is Content Marketing?

The way I like to see it is when you produce content that provides value. Think – blog posts, interviews and anything else your audience might be interested in. The key is that you are usually providing them some value and you are not explicitly promoting your product or service. The aim is to get people interested in your product or service in an indirect way. So, if you’re sharing really useful information or things that are really helpful then people might come to your website and check out your product or service.

Image of a morning routine for Content Marketing
Content Marketing example of offering value rather than advertising product

 

Advertising is what then?

Advertising is where you are explicitly promoting your product or service. For example, think about all perfume adverts promoting their expensive perfume, or the car ads where you are shown all the features of the car.

Advertising will use the more traditional routes such as: TV, Radio, Billboard ( also referred to Out of Home or OOH for short), Direct mail and email. You can also see paid brand advertising online in the form of web banners and promoted posts on social media.  Content marketing is primary online and might be seen more on social media and blogs.

brand advertising example with HowNow
brand advertising example of we promoted HowNow on social media with text that advertised the product.

 

Content Marketing Vs Commercial Advertising?

You might be wondering when content marketing should be used and when commercial advertising should be used? Well, in my opinion both are useful and can be used at the same time. Advertising can be great for trying to raise brand awareness and to make sure you are reaching the right audience as you can more precisely target your consumers.

As Content Marketing on the other hand can be great for building up a strong relationship with your consumers. Purely because you offer them more value and are far less invasive with your product or service messages.

I believe content marketing should be done at all times to build up long lasting customer relationships. Content marketing is essentially the personality of your brand. It’s like a friend that is dishing out  super handy advice to you, without becoming preachy. Commercial Advertising should be used to get your product to consumers mind in raising brand awareness or informing people of a new product or service. So use content marketing more than you use advertising is the way I look at it.

So, there you go – that’s the difference. Fairly simple way to remember is just think advertising means promote product and services and content marketing is producing useful content.

Let me know if you have anything really interesting to add to this as it’s an evolving discussion and sometimes lines can feel blurred.

So, you have your class up and running, and it’s looking great. But how can you get the word out and start to increase your booking numbers?

Add a Call to Action button on Facebook

If you have a Facebook page, you have everything you need to add a Call to Action button. This is a way to send people directly to your classes. You have the option of seven different CTAs (that’s right, we’re abbreviating) and one of them is, conveniently, ‘Book Now’. All you have to do is enter the link for your class and you’re away! Additionally, since you have your Facebook page set up and looking awesome, you could also consider paid ads or promoted posts on Facebook too. They’re a great way to increase the numbers of people seeing your content.

Get Tweeting

If you have Twitter, start tweeting about your classes. The key to remember with Twitter is that you can’t just do it once. There’s an average of just under 10,000 tweets published every second, so you’ve got a lot of competition. Once your tweet has been out there for 18 minutes, the likelihood is that its been buried on everybody’s newsfeed. What that means is you really need to be tweeting about your classes at least once a day. Now, that sounds like a lot, but don’t panic – there are awesome sites like Buffer, Tweetdeck, and Sprout that allow you to schedule your tweets. Just line ’em up, and these services will send ’em out. There’s also the option of promoted tweets, but if you’re a paid advertising virgin you might prefer to do that on Facebook – it’s much easier to pick the right audience.

Add a link to your site

If you have your own website, add a linked image to your sidebar to say ‘hey, I teach online classes’. That way, whatever page a potential student is on, they’ll always see the option to book. If your site gets a lot of traffic from people who aren’t local to your in-person classes, this is a great way to increase bookings from that audience. In fact, feel free to use the embed codes below for a stylish way of linking your website visitors to your classes.

For a navy blue background:

<a href=http://learnhownow.com><img src=http://imgur.com/ttg7zrWtitle=”Learn With Me on HowNow” width=”270″ height=”290″ /></a>

For a white background:

<a href=http://learnhownow.com><img src=http://imgur.com/4dNCkzRtitle=”Learn With Me on HowNow” width=”270″ height=”290″ /></a>
These can be pasted anywhere on your site. Don’t forget to change the URL in the code to the URL of your class, and get in touch if you have any issues!

Tell your mailing list

Do you have a list of customer emails? Let them know about your classes! If you want to increase the quality of the emails you send you could try using a service like Mailchimp to make them look super-slick. You can even add a button to your email which takes a user straight to your class booking page. After all, you want to make the process as quick and easy as possible. You could also try sending out promotional codes to get the ball rolling with your bookings. We send them out in the newsletter all the time, or we could always help you by

Use word of mouth

Got a student who’s mentioned going away or moving? Remind them that they can keep up their classes with you!

Mention your classes in other professional profiles

Do you write a column in a newspaper? Speak at events? Make TV appearances? If you have to provide a profile about yourself, mention that you teach on HowNow. If your work is being seen you might well be attracting people who are interested in learning from you. Letting them know that they can find you on HowNow is a great way to capitalise on interest, especially if the geography won’t work.

Extra special bonus suggestion!

If you’re looking to increase your mailing list or your social media following, a giveaway is a great way to do it. There are great applications like Gleam or Rafflecopter which make it super-easy to set up a prize draw where a user gives their email address or follows you on social media in order to be entered into a draw. An online class is a great option for a prize because it doesn’t depend on location and there’s no financial outlay for you. You’d just need to contact the winner afterwards to give them a prize code (contact us if you ever need this) and voila! You’ve run a competition!

Please note that we do not advise waving your profits around willy-nilly, no matter how much this stylish photo may suggest otherwise.

Don’t forget, if you do need any more advice, it’s always worth getting in touch to ask – we might just be able to help.

Facebook ads are a great way to promote your HowNow classes. If you have a Facebook page you have everything you need to set up adverts and make sure as many people as possible see what you can do. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up a campaign:

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Visit your ‘Adverts Manager’ account on Facebook. If you have a Facebook page for your company, you’ll see this in the menu on the left-hand side of your Newsfeed. If you don’t yet have a Facebook page set up, you’ll need to do that first. Click on the green ‘create advert’ button in the top right-hand corner.

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Pick what you want your ad to achieve. There’s a load of options to choose from, but to promote your HowNow class specifically, you might want to try selecting ‘send people to your website’.

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Give your campaign a name to help you track its success and click ‘continue’.

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Now you’ll create your audience. You can target your add to people in, or even just visiting, specific locations if that’s what you want to do. However, do keep in mind that because your class is online it can be taken from anywhere.

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You can also choose the ages, gender, and language of the people you want to reach.

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After that, it gets interesting. You can choose people depending on their specific interests. If it’s possible to ‘like’ something on Facebook, it’s possible to target an ad to reach fans of that subject. If you’re a yoga or guitar teacher, that’s a good place to start. If you’re teaching business, you could target people who like The Apprentice. This is where a good knowledge of your demographic comes into play. You can save your audiences to use again, or create a new one each time if you’re feeling experimental.screenshot-129

Using the ‘Connections’ drop-down menu you can then choose if you want to target just the people who like your page or people who’ve never heard of you.

Step 5

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Once you’ve got your audience it’s time to decide on a budget. This can be per day or for the lifetime of the ad so make sure you’ve checked this over before you let your ad go live. You could spend as little as a fiver or as much as you like, really. It’s totally up to you. Facebook will never charge more than the budget you set, so there’s no need to worry about it going rogue.

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Decide what you want Facebook to charge you for. This can be either link clicks or impressions. When you get to this part of the Advert Manager it’s wise to work with Facebook’s recommendations if you’re not familiar with the process. As you get more comfortable you can play around more.

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Choose your image. If you have a high quality image, that’s great.

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If not, Facebook also have a library of stock images you can use. Beware of images with too much text. Facebook used to ban any images with more than 20% text. That’s not the case any more but they do warn that ads that have images with too much text will be shared less.

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If you’re advertising your class, the ‘website URL’ box is the place to share your class link. That way, when people click on your ad they’ll be taken straight there. After that you’ll fill in a headline and the text for your ad. Your headline and text character limits will vary depending on the kind of ad you’re producing.

After that, you’ll have the option to preview your ads, and then once you’ve confirmed you’ll be away! It’s great fun to see what kind of results you can get for different kinds of ads.

The other kind of Facebook ad that’s super-easy to create and doesn’t even require you to spend time in the Advert Manager is a promoted post. If you’ve created a post and think more people should be able to see it, this is the option for you. Facebook’s algorithms work in such a way that this is basically the only way to guarantee that your content gets the attention it deserves.

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Find the post you want to boost and click the ‘Boost post’ button.You’ll choose and audience and a budget just like you did when setting up a full Facebook ad.

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While your boosted post is still being promoted, and after your campaign has finished, you’ll be able to see exactly how many people you reached. When you view your results you’ll see more details about exactly who engaged and how, which can be vital information to use when planning future ads and deciding who should be in your audiences.

So there you have it! Promoted posts on Facebook are great to advertise your classes, and you can create campaigns to suit any budget. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Once you’ve decided to teach classes on HowNow, and you’ve planned what your lessons will be like, it’s time to post your class listing. This is what students will see when they make their bookings, so a great listing is crucial. Luckily, we put together a guide for how to complete each section.

Title and description

class listing

The first thing you’ll need to come up with for your class listing is a title and a one-line description. These appear on the browse pages so they need to be compelling to attract users to click. Try to avoid having a one-word class title, or using the words ‘one-to-one’, ‘group’, or anything like ‘class’ or ‘lesson’. Students will already know that it’s a class by the fact that it’s on HowNow, and you’ll use your tags to let them know if it’s one-to-one or for groups. Try to make your one-line description long enough to fill the space available – so about 100 characters.

Header image or video

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You have the choice between adding a video introduction to your class or adding a header image. These appear within the class listing itself. If you add a video, make sure you introduce yourself and what students will learn in the class. However, avoid going into so much detail that people no longer feel the need to make a booking. If you decide to add an image instead, make sure it’s a high quality one. Avoid images with a white background, and images which are actually a lot of text. If you want to use a logo, the place to do that is as your profile picture rather than as a header image.

Overview

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This is the section where you can give users an idea of what your class offers without going into specifics. This overview needs to apply to people who are visiting your class listing to book their tenth session just as much as it applies to total beginners, so keep it general and use lots of keywords because those will help your SEO. You might choose to give a bit of information about your teaching technique, or what a student will gain from a series of sessions with you.

What you need

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The next section you’ll come to when writing your class listing is ‘what you need’. This lets the student know what they’ll need to have access to before they take your session. You need to give them the best possible opportunity to get prepared before the day, so list everything. You might have a long list or a very short one. It may be that you don’t require your students to have anything. All of these are fine, just make sure you’re transparent in your listing.

Pricing, keywords, etc.

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This part of your class listing will actually appear at the top of the page next to your header. This is where you can let people know what levels you can teach, what languages you teach in, and how much you charge. You should also add keywords, but definitely avoid using words like ‘lessons’, ‘classes’ and ‘online’. Everything on the site is an online class so these won’t help you to stand out. Make sure your keywords refer to the content of the class.

What to expect

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Make sure that your class listing lets people know what to expect in your sessions. If you are teaching both one-to-one and group classes, try to let people know what the differences between the formats will be. Once you’ve done that people will be able to decide which type of class they’ll be happier taking part in and a comfortable student is a goof student.

Availability

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It’s vital that you connect your Google calendar to HowNow. This is the easiest way for you to let us know when you’re available. A great class listing will give potential students a lot of time options. By having as much free time in your calendar as possible you maximise your chances of getting bookings.

Ultimately, your HowNow class listing is the place to sell yourself. Don’t be afraid to brag, but don’t forget that you also need to appeal to total beginners who might not know what you’re talking about. That’ll soon change after your first session, though.

We’ve already talked about how to create listing on HowNow so that it grabs as much attention as possible. But what about your profile? That can be just as important when it comes to selling your classes, but sometimes it’s the thing that gets overlooked. We write so many profiles these days that it’s easy to get blase about them. But resist the temptation to just write any old thing – it’s worth taking time over.

Do some bragging

Have you ever won an award? Do you have ten degrees? Have you been featured in the press? Details like this are great as they help to cement the impression that you’re an expert in your field, so mention them in your profile. That’s not to say that if you don’t have paper qualifications your classes will be worth less. Whatever makes you confident that you’re a great teacher, that’s the thing you should be bragging about.

Sell yourself, not your class

There’s a very good chance that you’re not the only person in the world teaching your subject. You might not even be the only person on HowNow teaching your subject. So why should a student choose you to be their teacher? Remember that your profile will appear on each of your class listings so don’t go too in-depth about any subject. Just give a general overview of why you’re great.  If you have any feedback from former students, that’s a brilliant thing to include too.

Give a sense of your personality

Your profile on the website will give students a chance to get to know you better. They’ll be much more comfortable taking classes with someone they feel familiar with, rather than a total stranger. Are you a fan of anything? Do you do anything interesting in your spare time? Were you Coney Island Hotdog Eating Champion in 1998? It might not seem relevant to making people sign up to your class, but people are much more likely to want to work with someone they’re able to warm to.

Have a great profile picture

You’ve used your profile to give potential students an idea of why you’re qualified and what you’re like as a person. You’ve given them a really positive impression. Now you need to cement that positive impression by adding a great profile picture. This should be a picture of yourself, and preferably just your head and shoulders. The profile picture field is a bit tight for full-body shots. You can take a photo using a selfie stick and a phone – it doesn’t have to a work of art. Users are much more likely to sign up to classes where they can see the teacher because it creates a subconscious trust. After all, if there’s just a logo, or a picture of a plant pot, how do they know their teacher won’t be a robot.

study

Once you’ve got your profile set up and you’ve listed your first classes, don’t forget to spread the word among your following and encourage them to get booking. We can’t wait to watch your classes develop.

You might think email marketing is the preserve of big businesses. Think again. Technology has levelled the playing field for businesses great and small, so it’s easier than ever to create slick email marketing campaigns that look as though you’ve paid thousands of graphic designers to help. But what should be considering when you start your campaign?

Keep it regular

Pick a day of the week, and a time in that day, and stick to it. That’s when your users should expect to hear from you. By giving you their email address they’ve basically trusted you. If you abuse that and send too many messages, or send emails when they’re not interested, you’ll find yourself relegated to the junk folder before you can say ’email marketing’. If you don’t have enough content to warrant a weekly newsletter, remember you could always just make it fortnightly or even monthly. It’s better to send one great message than five rubbish ones.

Make sure it looks appropriate

You say a lot about your company before you’ve even said very much in the body of your email marketing. The look of your newsletters can give your mailing list an idea of exactly what your business is like, so make sure it suits what you. For example, if you sell floral vintage china and your key demographic is grannies, your emails probably don’t need to look slick and minimal. Appeal to your demographic.

Make it engaging and informative

Try to let some personality come through in your emails. You might always include a link to a funny news story, or always have something motivational to say. It’s a little thing, but it makes people more likely to read your next message. On the flip side, don’t send out a marketing email for no reason. Keep things informative. Let people know about company updates, new products, or any press. Don’t email ‘just to chat’. That’s a bit weird.

Don’t be too ‘salesy’

Picture the scene: Someone turns up at your house trying to sell you something. You’re not interested. You close the door in their face. You feel a bit guilty, but there was no other way to deal with them. Email marketing has the potential to be a bit like that, except without any guilt about getting rid of you. If you’re emailing people and trying to aggressively sell something, you’re going to rub them up the wrong way. There’s a big difference between saying ‘here’s some things you might be interested in as a previous client’, and saying ‘Hey. You’ve shown a vague interest in me before. Buy all of my stuff. BUY IT NOW.’.

If you’re still on the lookout for a way to make great email newsletters, we recommend Mailchimp, which is versatile enough to do pretty much anything and also has a free subscription below a certain number of subscribers. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

 

There’s loads of brand new ways of marketing your business using the internet. Email marketing is a classic, though. While some companies have moved away from it in favour of advertising through social networks, we think it’s definitely still worth doing. But why should you care what we think? We put together a list of reasons you should probably consider email marketing if you don’t already do it.

Pretty much everyone has an email

When considering online marketing, Facebook is always a sound choice. They have 1.7 billion monthly active users worldwide. However, email greatly surpasses that with 2.5 billion users around the world. There’s a chance that some people in your demographic might not be on Facebook, but they’re very likely to have an email.

You can engage customers

Sending emails can open up a dialogue with your customer base. If you send messages from an email address they can reply to they’re likely to do so. It probably won’t happen so much that you feel inundated, but it’ll happen on occasion. Whether your email list have questions, comments, or complaints, it’s a great way to get feedback. You’re also contacting people who have at one point or other willingly (we hope) given you their email. That implies that they’re probably already interested in what you’re doing, which is a great place to start.

People expect promotions

Email has been commonplace for a lot longer than social networking. As such, the idea of receiving promotional messages is something we all expect and largely accept. At this point it basically feels the same as getting pizza leaflets through the door. Paid marketing through social networks like Facebook and Twitter has been around for a lot less time and is still seen by some as an annoyance, which means email can be the better option if you want to find a receptive audience.

You can personalise it

If you create a Facebook ad, for example, there are very prescriptive rules about what you have to have to include. The same can also be said of Twitter and Instagram. When you’re sending promotions directly to inboxes you have the freedom to present your company however you would like – the only restriction is the limit of your imagination. Although do avoid sending unsolicited giant files to people. Nobody likes that company.

There’s more chance of being seen

According to ReturnPath, 18% of emails were either blocked or undelivered last year. Similarly, 4% went straight to junk folders. That means 22% of emails don’t reach their destination. On the flip side, organic reach for a post on a Facebook page is likely to be less than 7%. That means that without spending money to promote your posts you run the risk of 93% of your fans missing your content. Basically, email can prove to be a much more cost-effective way of reaching more interested people.

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If you’re still on the lookout for a way to make great email newsletters, we recommend Mailchimp, which is versatile enough to do pretty much anything and also has a free subscription below a certain number of subscribers. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Google Adwords is a great tool for marketing your business. It’s a good leveller, because newer businesses can compete for exactly the same space with huge and established companies. But is it always worth it? It very much depends upon your specific business, your ultimate goals, and how much work you’re willing to put in. We made a list of pros and cons, because we’re nice and we want to help you make the right decision.

Pros of Google Adwords:

  • You set your own budget with Adwords. It can be relatively cheap to get started, which is a bonus if you don’t know yet if it’s worth doing and you’re just trying to experiment. You only pay when people are clicking on your ads, so if something’s proving unsuccessful the only effect will be a lack of traffic to your site rather than a big financial outlay.
  • It’s very possible for anybody to learn how to use Google Adwords. The fact that you can set your own budget allows for fairly low-cost trial-and-error, but Google also provide lots of helpful materials and guidance, since it’s in their interest for you to be able to use their system. In addition, the internet is full of blogs that detail tips and tricks for getting ahead with adwords and there are even online classes to help you.
  • If you’ve just launched a site, it can be difficult to get people to visit by SEO alone. Google adwords allows you to put your site front-and-centre, at the top of the most popular websites in the world. There’s no other way to achieve that kind of exposure when your business has only just launched, making adwords a great option for new companies.
  • You can target your adwords campaign so that you only reach people who are specifically interest in the thing you are specifically marketing. Adwords gives you the ability to narrow down exactly the demographics you’re aiming to hit and make sure your ad isn’t being clicked by people who are never going to convert.

Cons of Google Adwords

  • Clicks to your Google ads can be expensive if you don’t keep an eye on your campaigns. You need to keep an eye on your account to make sure you’re not spending more money than you intended to. Adwords isn’t something you can just leave ticking over in the background without paying at least a little bit of attention to it on a regular basis.
  • As we’ve mentioned before, Google is one of the most popular websites in the world. That means it’s a very popular place to advertise. You’ll be up against people who work with adwords for a living. They’ll be able to spend day after day honing their campaigns, while you might have a thousand other things to be doing. You might come against companies with higher budgets, who can afford to pay more money for the same clicks you’d otherwise get.
  • You’ve got a 25 character title, and two 35 character sentences to attract visits to your website. If you’re a wordsmith that’s no problem, but if crafting perfect lines doesn’t come naturally to you, or if your concept is complicated, it may be hard to attract traffic.
  • As in the Pros, adwords is a great way to attract traffic to your site quickly. The thing is, without also paying attention to SEO, it won’t work forever. You need a site with lots of content and good SEO in order to keep the momentum you build up with short-term spikes in traffic coming from adwords.

In conclusion…

What we’re trying to say is that Google Adwords is always worth trying out. It might be incredibly successful for you. However, if it’s not, there’s no point flogging a dead horse. If you’re not having much luck with adwords but you’re getting lots of engagement on, say, Facebook, or in-person, then focus on that. Don’t forget to check out HowNow for more tips and tricks.