Your website cannot drive web traffic and sales as easily or cheaply as recently as two or three months ago. To profitably increase search engine rankings, traffic and sales, you must diversify your marketing campaigns to take advantage of undervalued distribution channels on the web.
In the last 12 months, Google has made several major changes to its search engine algorithm, most notably the Panda Update and the Penguin Update. Due to these algorithm changes, black hat SEO tactics, such as spammy fixes to your site’s content and link building, will get you flagged by Google and significantly hurt your rankings and traffic generation.
Meanwhile, Google Adwords has matured to the point that Pay Per Click ad campaigns are generating diminishing returns for small and medium sized business, which are getting pushed out of the marketplace by the big companies. Thus, to create a long-term profitable campaign, your website needs a holistic approach to Internet marketing that includes quality content generation and promotion.
This is why infographic marketing campaign have become so popular. Infographics are one of the best ways to drive immediate traffic to your site and create quality backlinks for long-term SEO success. When done right, infographics are engaging, social content that promoting your business around the top sites most relevant to your customers. While you cannot guarantee results with an infographic campaign, you should see a minimum success via distribution of at least 50 quality links and 2,000 page views. On the higher end, we have seen links in the thousands and page views in excess of 100,000+.
Here’s our cheat sheet on how to use infographics to create a successful viral marketing campaign.
It’s not easy creating quality content that people want to share on your behalf. Whether you’re making an infographic a video or writing your next blog post, you must always start by asking yourself, “who is the intended audience of this content, and how do I make something they will find interesting?” Once you answer this, you have a much better of idea of what needs to be done. The worst thing you can do is jump into a creative project like this without thinking of the big picture.
Market research is crucial to any successful viral marketing campaign. You want to examine your target audience and determine what sites, forums and blogs on which they spend a lot of time on the Internet. Once you have created a list of example sites, you should spend some time looking at what kind of content is popular. Not only will this give you some great ideas to repurpose, but it will give you valuable insight into the kind of stuff that your customers find amusing—what they find funny or helpful.
After some casual homework, create a high-level outline of goals and initiatives.
List the top 30 websites you want the infographic to get posted to; list the top 20 bloggers/tastemakers you want to reach out to for promotion; and make a list of 10 ideas for your infographic.
Once you have 10 concepts, meet with your in-house marketer (if you don’t have one, talk to a consultant or a good friend who is in the online marketing business) and finalize the concept.
You’ve got your idea! Now you need to start designing the infographic.
There are two ways you can go. You can use an agency to create a custom infographic. Custom designs will deliver clearly the best results, but they can be quite expensive. They can range anywhere from $500 to $300 just for the design, creation and implementation.
If you don’t want to use an agency, you can use great tools such as Piktochart or Infogr.am to make pretty good infographics out of some nice template.
The choice between custom and template is essentially the same choice when designing a website. Customization is always a better product, but it might be too expensive to deliver the return you want.
Our suggestion: try and make a template version first and see how it turns out. If you can get even marginal promotion, it was a solid ROI. If you think you have an idea that can really go viral and drive thousands of new visitors to your site, we suggest going with an agency for custom design and promotion.
Infographic Creation & Implementation
Once you go through a few mock-ups, you might be happy with the design and ready to create the thing and implement it onto your site. But this is an often overlooked step that, if done correctly, can yield great results.
First, you want to make sure you implement the infographic on your blog or independent landing page. And when you implement it make sure you include all the elements that help with SEO and social promotion. Remember, the whole point of this is to get it shared and create viral traffic and quality backlinks. How you implement your infographic greatly impacts this process!
You want to include relevant keywords in readable text.
You want to include social sharing buttons on the page that hosts the infographic to make it easy to share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, email and all the social bookmarking sites.
And finally, you want to include a text area form element with source code that users can copy to embed the infographic with a backlinks to your site. This is really the secret sauce for your SEO campaign.
Now you’ve implemented the infographic. It’s ready for distribution around the web. Remember that list of relevant sites, forums and blogs you made in the research phase? You want to do outreach to these webmasters and see if they will repost your infographic.
The key to this outreach is to start before the infographic is complete. Outreach usually takes a few weeks to build that relationship. The good news? Once you’ve created the relationships, it’s much easier to return to them later to ask to post other content.
News sites and content aggregators are especially helpful with this, because they’re constantly looking to fill their schedule with free, quality content. If you can promise to deliver them exactly that in a timely manner, they will be happy to help!
Aside from the relevant sites, there’s also a solid list of infographic aggregators that will happily post your infographic and generate quality backlinks and free traffic on your behalf. You’re looking for sites with high page rank and significantly monthly traffic.
Here’s a list of sites for distribution:
Infographic Social Media Promotion
Hopefully, you‘ve done your due diligence and your outreach and distribution has gone well. If it has, you’re likely to get enough social sharing and viral juice to make the campaign a big success. But there’s still a lot of social media promotion you can do on your own to help the campaign along.
You should schedule a roll out on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Squidoo, Hubpages, eHow, Wikihow, Pitch Engine, Flickr, Pickagon, Tumblr, Posterous and your blog. And you should email your entire contact list to tell them about this awesome new infographic you made. (Never explicitly ask for a share! That’s unseemly and will not help the cause. If anything, it will do the opposite.)
Post to social news & bookmarking sites. Share the infographic with influential users of social news & bookmarking sites: StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, Digg and other top social bookmarking sites.
Write and distribute a press release pegged to the infographic. Distribute the press release via Businesswire, PR Newswire, Marketwire or PR Web.
Use Fiverr or buyrealmarketing.com to spark early social media promotion. Yes, it may seem cheesy to buy some early social activity. But it adds kindling to the fire.
As you can see, a lot of work is required to execute a successful viral infographic marketing campaign. This is often why so much companies use agencies to create their campaigns; they leverage the resources and expertise of marketing professionals.
However, we recommend you try creating one and promoting it yourself. As long as you keep the costs down, it’s a relatively cheap experiment. If you aren’t satisfied with the results, you can always go to an agency later.
Just to review, here are the top features of a successful infographic campaign:
• Custom marketing strategy and plan
• Market research
• Custom design and creation
• Implement the infographic on your website
• Promote and syndicate the infographic to top industry sites, social sites, news sites and infographic directories
• Social media promotion on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and top social bookmarking sites
• Social outreach to top industry sites and blogger
• Write and syndicate an SEO optimized press release to hundreds of relevant sites
And here are the benefits of a campaign.
• Viral marketing that drives hundreds, or thousands, of new visitors to your site
• Create quality content and backlinks
• Improve your search engine rankings
• Drive more traffic, leads and sales