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15 Digital Marketing Tactics That Work GREAT In 2020

This is a list of 15 super effective marketing tactics.

These exact tactics have helped grow my website to 430,655 monthly visits:

Backlinko – Monthly website visitors

And 156,949 email subscribers:

Backlinko email subscribers

Let’s dive right in.

1. Post Lists on Twitter

Lists REALLY stand out on Twitter.

Here’s an example:

Twitter list example

In fact:

Lists have helped my tweets get 2.1x more clicks.

For example, here’s what my old tweets used to look like:

Backlinko old tweet

There’s nothing wrong with that tweet. But it won’t stand out in today’s busy Twitter feed.

Today, I share my post in the form of a list:

Backlinko Twitter list example

And that simple list has helped me get WAY more traffic to each and every post.

Tweet activity – Link clicks

Which leads us to…

2. Update and Improve Your Blog Content

Last year I went back and updated EVERY single post on my site.

The result?

A 49.03% organic traffic increase.

Improved Content – Website traffic increase

Here’s how I did it:

First, my team went one-by-one through every post published to date.

(Which was about 75 posts).

Then, we put each post into one of three categories:

  1. Leave as-is
  2. Improve
  3. Re-write

For example, this link building guide was great as-is. So it didn’t need an update.

Backlinko – Link Building Guide

On the other hand, this post was good… but kinda old.

Backlinko – Old post example

So we updated the content that was there.

Backlinko – Updated post example

And we even had the occasional post that needed a complete rewrite.

For example, this post was a case study that was over 4 years old.

Backlinko – Viral Marketing – Old post

There’s not much you can do to update an old case study, right? I mean, the events in the case study already happened.

Which is why we re-wrote that post from scratch and turned it into Viral Marketing: The Definitive Guide.

Backlinko – Viral Marketing – New post

3. Cross-Pollinate Your Audience

This marketing tactic is simple:

Get your current followers to follow you on other platforms.

Why?

Well, most people get their social media followers from inside of that platform.

Most people get social media followers from inside that platform

But you cross-pollinate your audience, you also get a lateral pipeline of new followers.

Get a lateral pipeline of new followers

For example, I’ve been asking new email subscribers to follow me on Twitter for years.

Thank You page asking for Twitter followers

And this simple call-to-action has helped me grow to over 87.6K Twitter followers:

Backlinko Twitter followers

4. Publish Original Research Content

Original research has helped me get featured in major media outlets like TechCrunch:

TechCrunch feature

Forbes:

Forbes feature

And Entrepreneur:

Entrepreneur feature

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I plan on publishing MORE original research content this year.

I’m not alone.

According to BuzzSumo, 74% of marketers say that original research has helped them bring in more website traffic.

Question is:

How do you do it?

When it comes to original research have two main options:

  1. Analyzing a bunch of data
  2. Running a survey

For example, a few years ago we analyzed 1.3 million YouTube videos to figure out why certain videos rank above others.

YouTube video analysis post

This post did REALLY well. But it was pretty complicated to do. We had to analyze the titles, views, tags and comment counts on over a million videos.

So if you’re just starting out, I recommend running a survey.

In fact, earlier this year we published the results of this survey about the SEO services industry.

SEO Services Report

Compared to our YouTube SEO study, this survey was a CINCH.

Even though this survey was much easier than the YouTube study, it still did super well.

5. Upload Native Video to LinkedIn

Unlike Facebook, people actually LIKE the content that people share on LinkedIn.

(Especially video)

In fact, Brafton reports that 9 out of 10 marketing executives cite LinkedIn as the best platform for finding quality content.

Executives rate LinkedIn high on value gained from their social marketing initiatives

So if your business is B2B (or targets people that work in certain industries), LinkedIn should be part of your marketing strategy.

Why?

Unlike most other social media sites, the organic reach on LinkedIn is still GREAT.

For example, I recently uploaded a native video to LinkedIn:

Backlinko – Native video on LinkedIn

And that video post got 879 likes and 140 comments.

LinkedIn – Likes and comments

Not bad.

6. Personalize Outreach Email Subject Lines

I recently analyzed over 10 million outreach emails.

Outreach email post

Our most interesting finding?

That personalized subject lines work GREAT.

In fact, we discovered that outreach emails with personalized subject lines got 30% more responses.

Personalized subject lines lead to more replies

For example, here’s an outreach email that I recently sent out:

Outreach email

See how the subject line mentions the person’s name?

Email subject line uses person

That really helps my message stand out.

7. Rank Your Site In The “#0” Position

Featured Snippets lets you leapfrog your competitor’s on Google’s first page…

above the site in #1 spot.

Here’s an example:

"how to get youtube subscribers" featured snippet example

How do you get your content into the “#0” position?

First, you need to figure out the type of Featured Snippet Google is using for that specific keyword.

For example, for the keyword “how to get more subscribers on YouTube”, Google is using a list Featured Snippet.

"how to get more subscribers on YouTube" featured snippet

So in that case you need a list of items on your page that Google can pull.

Featured Snippet list on website

On the other hand, if the Featured Snippet is a definition, you want to include a short description of what that thing is.

Featured Snippet definition example

8. Use Longer Headlines

When it comes to social media shares, what works better?

Short headlines.

Or long headlines?

Well, we recently did the largest content marketing industry study ever conducted (in terms of sample size).

The largest content marketing industry study

And the data was clear:

Long headlines get more shares than short headlines.

Long headlines are correlated with increased social sharing

In fact, it’s not even close. Our study found that long headlines get an average of 76% more shares than short titles.

I try to put this finding into action with my own content.

Instead of a short headline like “SEO Case Study”, I tend to use headlines on the longer side, like this:

Long post headline

And according to this study, and my own experience, these longer headlines work GREAT.

9. Test Exit-Intent Popups

I’m not going to lie to you:

Nobody likes popups.

But they work REALLY well.

That is: if you stick to exit-intent popups.

Unlike a normal popup that annoys the crap out of people, an exit-intent popup only appears when someone’s leaving your site.

 

That way, you don’t interrupt visitors that are reading your content.

(Which is annoying)

Instead, you offer them something of value before they leave your site.

(Which isn’t annoying)

We’ve shown our exit-intent popups to literally 500k+ people. And I’ve yet to receive a single complaint.

Speaking of email…

10. Segment Email Subscribers

Marketing automation is all the rage right now.

And for good reason:

Segmenting your subscribers by demographic, interest or purchase history can give your conversion rate a huge boost.

In fact, we recently started segmenting our subscribers based on their interest (or lack of interest) in YouTube SEO.

Segment email lists by interest

Which lets us only send YouTube-related stuff to people that WANT to receive it.

To be clear: if you’re new to email marketing, I don’t recommend setting up complicated funnels or creating 100 segments.

Start small.

For example, let’s say you have two groups of people on your email list: teachers and students.

Well, you’d want to segment these folks into two different groups. And send targeted content to each one.

For most small businesses, that level of segmenting that works best. Any more than that and you tend to get diminishing returns.

11. Pre-Launch New Products

About to launch a new product?

Awesome.

Just make sure you tell people about it BEFORE your actual launch.

According to a paper published by the Norwegian Business School, pre-launch buzz can lead to more sales.

Pre-launch buzz can lead to more sales

Fortunately, your pre-launch marketing campaign doesn’t have to be a huge production.

In fact, just mentioning your product before you launch can create some buzz.

This is something I make sure to do with each and every launch.

For example, before we first launched our YouTube course, we ran a 3-part email series about YouTube marketing.

Three-part email series

And I previewed the upcoming course at the end of each one.

FPV previewed in PLC emails

Which helped us hit our internal goal for that launch.

I haven’t run a split test on this, but I’m confident that the course wouldn’t have done nearly as well if we launched our program out of the blue.

The pre-launch was a big part of that launch’s success.

12. Become a Podcast Guest

According to Edison Research, almost a third of all Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month.

That’s a lot.

Question is:

How do you make podcasts part of your marketing strategy?

Well, you could start your own podcast. But that can take months (or years) to get traction.

Or you could go on popular podcasts as a guest.

Being a guest on a podcast is an awesome marketing tactic that very few people are taking advantage of.

When you get interviewed on a podcast, not only do you get you and your business get some serious brand awareness, but you also get high-quality backlinks from the podcast website:

High Quality Backlinks from podcast

13. Write an Awesome Welcome Email

When new folks sign up for your email list, the first impression that they get is HUGE.

Which is why I recommend writing a welcome email that gets people excited for whatever it is they just signed up for.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Just a simple email that warmly welcomes them… and lets them know what to expect.

The perfect welcome email

That’s all there is to it.

14. Publish Long-Form Videos on YouTube

If you consider YouTube a social network (which it is) it’s the most popular social network, with 73% of American adults using it.

And one of the best ways to get more views from your videos?

Publish long-form videos.

A recent industry study discovered that videos between 10-16 minutes tended to perform best on YouTube.

10-16 minute videos are well-liked

This is something I learned from trial and error.

I pretty much only publish videos on my YouTube channel that are at least 10 minutes long.

YouTube video length

And this focus on long-form video content has helped my channel’s views and subscribers skyrocket over the last 2 years.

YouTube subscriber growth

Why do longer videos work best?

It’s simple:

Longer videos help bump up your Watch Time.

As long as your videos are really well done, longer videos naturally accumulate more watch time vs. shorter videos.

Longer videos accumulate more watch time

15. Create Custom Charts, Graphs and Visuals

There are two main reasons that I recommend using custom visuals in your blog posts.

First off, they simply make your content look better.

For example, in this post, I outline the best time to send newsletter emails (and why).

And I used a nice-looking visual to help make the concept easier to understand.

Visual helps readers understand the best time to send email

Second, bloggers will sometimes embed your visuals in THEIR posts…

Embedded visuals on bloggers

…which can lead to dozens of backlinks.

Backlink example

I personally work with a professional graphic designer to get these visuals made. But if you have graphic design skills, you can make these yourself in Photoshop.

Either way works.

Bonus #1: Optimize For Low-Competition Keywords

If you’re just starting out with SEO, I recommend focusing on keywords that don’t have a ton of competition.

Otherwise, you have very little chance of ranking.

For example, let’s say you want to rank for the keyword “search engine optimization”.

Well, according to the Ahrefs keyword tool, that keyword has a difficulty score of “95”.

Ahrefs – High difficulty score

In other words: that term is going to be SUPER hard to rank for.

That’s why I recommend going with a long-tail version of that keyword, like “search engine optimization example”.

Ahrefs – Low difficulty score

As you can see, it’s MUCH less competitive.

This approach doesn’t just apply to the blogging world.

Low-competition keywords are GREAT for ecommerce sites. When you target long tail keywords, you’re not going head-to-head against Amazon for terms like “coffee mugs”.

Instead, you’re going after keywords that you have a decent chance of ranking for.

Bonus #2: Retarget Website Visitors on Facebook

There’s no denying it:

Pay per click (PPC) advertising is getting more expensive.

Especially Facebook ads.

Fortunately, there’s a way to get your ads in front of potential customers… without paying a fortune.

Retargeting.

With retargeting, you only show ads to people that recently visited your website.

Retargeting only shows ads to recent visitors

Not only do retargeting ads tend to convert well, but they’re usually cheaper too.

For example, we recently ran a Facebook ad campaign that didn’t use retargeting.

And that campaign cost us an average of $4.42 per click.

Facebook ad with high cost per click

Ouch.

We also ran a hyper-targeted campaign aimed squarely at people that viewed one of our landing pages.

And that the CPC for that campaign was $0.98.

Facebook ad with low cost per click

Now I’d Like to Hear From You

That’s it for my list of my favorite marketing tactics right now.

Now it’s your turn:

What technique from this list are you going to add to your marketing plan?

Do you want to try Facebook ad retargeting?

Or maybe you’re going to embed visuals in your content.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.

  1. Hi Brian, awesome and really actionable content as always! I ran into your post while searching for a LinkedIn Guide. Are you planning on releasing one in the near future?

    Btw, I noticed a typo: “Long headlines get more shares and short headlines.”. I think it should be “… than short headlines”

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