3 Steps to Scare Your Audience Into Action (And Still Sleep at Night)

scary image of Underwood typewriter with scary-looking figurine next to it

If threatened, we move into action.

At one time your ancient ancestor jumped because an animal was about to eat him. Today, that motivation can be just as strong for someone with arachnophobia seeing a spider.

Great copywriting compels action, so it’s no surprise fear is used in marketing.

But to do it well (and still be able to sleep at night), you need to know a few things about scaring your reader into action.

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How to Make Your Website a Party People Want to Attend

illustration of a fun party from the 1950s

Have you ever walked into a party where you didn’t know anyone?

  • And there was no one to greet you or take your coat …
  • No one to show you where to get a drink or introduce you around …
  • No one to make you feel welcomed or show you where to go next …

It’s an awkward, uncomfortable feeling, right?

Your first instinct is probably to turn around and walk right back out. I know mine is.

So why would you treat visitors to your website the exact same way?

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10 Steps a Local Business Can Take Today to Improve Search Rankings

image of business front door at night with spotlight shining down over entrance

Would you like to get more customers for your brick-and-mortar business?

That’s a rhetorical question. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, of course you want more customers.

Running a business is hard work. You might have a steady flow of loyal existing customers, but we always need to make sure we have a stream of new people.

Keeping your website up to date can be hard work, too. And your SEO might need a serious update — or maybe you’ve never done much with it at all, thinking it was too difficult or too expensive.

Fortunately for you, you’re not alone.

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6 Tactics That Turn a Blog Into a Business Engine

image of railroad engine from 1927

Somewhere, a business owner is writing a blog post.

She writes the headline first, pens a killer introduction, and makes her point with 892 carefully crafted words.

Satisfied, she hits “Publish” and waits for fortune to arrive with a roll of $100 bills in one hand and a book deal in the other.

This is the legend of the lone blogger who climbs the mountain of success one post at a time.

I’m not going to debunk this story.

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How to Create Exquisite Subheads

Sorry.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you know all that work you do to drive people to your blog posts?

All the content optimization (don’t you say SEO!), all the agonizing over your headline, even the nitty-gritty of your word choice and sentence crafting?

Yeah, well, most people aren’t going to read those words and sentences.

Certainly they’re not going to read the ones at the end, possibly not even the ones in the middle.

Unless you do this …

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5 Ways a Minimum Viable Audience Gives You an Unfair Business Advantage

Image of Stadium Crowd

Startups aren’t “real” companies, according to retired entrepreneur and author Steve Blank. At least not in the way we usually think of the concept of a “company.”

Startups are instead temporary organizations on a mission to find a scalable business model. Once that business model is found, a “real” company is born to execute on it.

For many years, Steve Blank has been a mentor to Eric Ries, whose book The Lean Startup took the entrepreneurial world by storm in 2011. If you haven’t read Eric’s book yet, you should as soon as possible.

For now, let’s dig in deeper on the meaning and origin of “lean” in the context of business.

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3 Vital Marketing Lessons From the World’s Most Offensive Doughnut Shop

image of Voodoo Doughnuts sign

The line, even on the bitterest winter nights, extends out the door and down the block.

The neighborhood could charitably be described as “gritty” — known for marijuana dispensaries, tattoo parlors, and bars. (And those are the legal businesses.)

The walls are Pepto-Bismol pink, graced with a black velvet painting of a stern-looking Pam Grier. The place smells like … well, like a doughnut shop — that delicious yet faintly disgusting scent of industrial fryers.

The menu on the wall is illegibly tiny (even for 20-somethings on glaucoma medication), but everyone just pulls it up on their phone anyway. They take cash and only cash, and the cute tattooed employees at the cash register are friendly, if not necessarily efficient.

They’ve taken something ordinary (you might even call it a bit boring) and turned it into an enduring craze.

And yet, everything about the place turns off 95 percent of their potential customers.

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The Critical Thing You Need to Earn Targeted Traffic – Today, and into the Future

Image of Television News Crew

There is nothing new under the sun. What was old, is new again. It’s all been said and done before …

Those adages are true in your university philosophy class, and just as true when it comes to your media strategy.

If you’re working too hard trying to keep up with every new tactic and technology and social network that bubbles up online … and wondering what the essential asset is in building an audience, then this episode of New Rainmaker is for you.

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SEO is Dead: Long Live OC/DC

OCDC post image

I want to let you in on a little secret …

I really hate the term “SEO.”

This may come as a surprise to many since I am the resident SEO guy at Copyblogger and very active in the SEO community.

But for the past two years I have felt that the entire concept of SEO, while an important part of online marketing, had a very “spammy” connotation.

The term too often aligns our work with unprofessional practices like link buying and web spamming for article placement.

And with the recent issues around the SEO effort of Rap Genius, and the resulting negative impressions about SEO with the wider public, I have made it my mission for 2014 to eradicate the term SEO once and for all.

Yes, SEO is officially dead. Not the practice, but the term.

But what term should take its place?

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Why Are You Still Skeptical That Pinterest Can Work For You?

Pinterest post badge

Pinterest may bug you.

What with all the images of Italian sunsets and glamour pics of Ryan Gosling.

But so what?

Pinterest, with its 70 million users, is driving an avalanche of referral traffic to websites and blogs.

Right now, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ … combined.

And contrary to popular belief, maybe contrary to even your belief, that traffic is converting … because many pinners use the site specifically for product and content discovery. (Get ready for some compelling stats about this in a minute.)

This makes Pinterest a powerful tool for ecommerce.

So if you’ve been ignoring Pinterest, you’re late. But there is still time to catch up — and you should.

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