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Freemium Strategy: 10 Steps for Refreshing a Freemium During an SEO Slump

Boost freemium conversion rates and visibility in 10 easy steps

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 9.22.16 AMSearch engine optimization is kind of a game, right? It’s an important game – a necessary one for any publisher – but mostly it’s just us trying to play by the rules while Google giggles and changes those rules whenever they like.

At Mequoda, we stress the importance of a freemium strategy. Freemiums are free downloadable products that sit on SEO’d pages that publishers give away in order to build their email lists. The freemiums are available to download on these SEO’d landing pages, which we call rapid conversion landing pages, or RCLPs for short. You’ve seen them around herehere, and here.

These RCLPs are optimized for search and any good blockbuster RCLP, one that ranks in the No. 1 position for a good keyword phrase, can bring in 60% or more email subscribers. And if you’re wondering why we love email subscribers, it’s because email gives us the chance to court potential buyers and subscribers with good content before we ask them to buy anything.

With all of this in mind, sometimes a very effective freemium can drop in search. This means that a funnel of new email leads can suddenly come to a halt. While there’s no magic way to know why Google would drop a first page ranking article onto the second page or below, these are a few factors:

  • Too many people found it in search and clicked the back button quickly, signifying that the content isn’t what they were looking for. This is an indicator that the keyword you’re targeting doesn’t match what you’re actually offering on the page.
  • You bought backlinks at one point, and Google caught up with your black hat practices. Check out our post on the disavow tool.
  • Other pages targeting the same keywords have more social media backlinks than yours does.
  • You keyword-stuffed the post with an astronomical keyword density and Google is now punishing you.
  • The page hasn’t been updated in a long time, and Google is considering it outdated.

Since our clients are all trained the white hat way, the most common reason for a drop on an RCLP is that last bullet; the page has simply gotten stale. Perhaps it hasn’t been updated in a while, or nobody is sharing it in social media anymore. In any case, nobody has given it a good hug in a while and Google has begun to pick the cooler pages over yours. When is life not like high school, right?

The second life of your freemium strategy

This is the point where it’s time to recycle, refresh, and re-promote. It’s time to get a makeover! If you want to launch your first freemium, or a new one, read our 35-step list for building and promoting a new freemium. If you want to refresh one that has begun to lose rank and needs a boost, follow the next steps:

1. Review the comments you’ve gotten on your freemium thus far in email, social media, or on the RCLP itself if your RCLP allows comments (we suggest it does). Use this feedback to create a better report, but also to write better bullet points (pain points!) for the description of your freemium.

2. Once your report has been updated, update your RCLP that updates the content and makes it more current, like an “updated for 2016” sticker.

3. Create a new press release touting the update and submit it to the best free press release sites, and paid ones if you want.

4. Refresh your text ads and OFIEs with new copy. The copy promotes the freemium and links to the RCLP.

5. Write a blog post announcing the updated freemium. Write at least three new blog posts over the next several weeks and months that recycle content from the freemium and promotes it at the same time.

6. Send out a circ builder email to your own list promoting the updated freemium. If you are able to tell who downloaded the report previously, consider sending them an email letting them know the report has been updated.

7. Work out an arrangement with your partners for them to promote the freemium and RCLP to their lists.

8. Send out Tweets and post to Facebook about the new freemium. Schedule Tweets out for the next few weeks and for the next 12 months so that it’s always being refreshed.

9. Get in touch with industry bloggers and send them the PDF of your freemium. Include a link to the RCLP and a short bulleted list of take-aways to make their job easier.

10. Keep track of everywhere you posted your press release, and all of the sites that wrote about your freemium. Create an ongoing press list from this so that you can focus your efforts more effectively the next time.

Bonus: As mentioned, one of our best practices is to allow comments on RCLPs. This is because you can use it as an area for people to say nice things about your download. It also helps with SEO, because Google likes pages with comments on them.

Do you have any other freemium makeover tips to share? I’d love to hear your freemium strategy and your ideas to the list.

Posted in Audience Development Strategy

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