Posts Categorized: Marketing

Link

Beginner’s Guide to Link Building

Not sure what link building is?

Even more confused on how to accomplish it?

Well, you’re not alone….Link building is one of the most difficult tasks that an SEO professional faces each day. That’s right – it challenges professionals. So it’s not hard to imagine how the novice would run for the hills at the thought of a link building campaign.

In a very small nutshell, link building is an online form of promotional marketing, whereby you find great websites (content) to link your website/brand/company/content to. You are essentially attempting to spin an SEO spiderweb that reaches across the vast expanse of the world wide web. The larger your web, the more you’ll “catch,” so to speak. Ever seen Charlotte’s Web? Be Charlotte – steady, methodical, with fierce determination.

Ok, so……On the internet, there is this mega-giant called Google. They pretty much say what to do, when to do it, and most importantly, how to do it. And seeing as though Google has gabillions upon gabillions of web pages to sort through, it must use a structured algorithm in order to organize the chaos. One factor in Google’s algorithm is links.

Links = Votes

Basically when a particular page links back to your website, you’ve earned a “vote” from the online community. The more votes you get, the more popular you must be, right? Well, while that may work for prom queen selection, it’s a little more complicated in the grown up world. The answer is: yes and no (I know, trick question).

You see, Google analyzes the popularity of a page based on the number AND the popularity of the pages that link to them. So not only do you have to be popular to win prom queen, but the people voting for you must be popular too! Hence, you become popular by association (The parallels to real life are astonishing, don’tcha think?). Similarly, trustworthy sites tend to link to other trustworthy sites. Respected news sites and government sites are good examples of this.

According to a Moz.com survey, 81% of companies increased their link building spending over the last 12 months, and another 73% intend to increase their spending over the next 12 months. People are catching wind of the “Make Google Like Me” game, and they don’t want to lose to the competition. And you shouldn’t either. So, what tips should be considered when beginning your link building campaign? Well, we’ll tell ya.

Global Popularity

As mentioned above, the more links you have from other sites, the more popular you are. Just how far does that web of yours span? Work on making it larger and stronger.

Local Popularity

This refers to the popularity you have among others in your niche. Example: You manufacture coffee. You’ll gain much more popularity with links on coffee shop websites and other coffee-related sites, than you would a link on your best friend’s blog telling the world how wonderful your coffee is. Make sense?

Anchor text

This is anchor text. It is the highlighted portion of words that are visible when another page is hyperlinked into a post. These are important because Google, the smart little devil that it is, assimilates what the hyperlink (anchor text) says and what is actually in the content. It learns to associate those words with the content of the link.

Trust Rank

As stated previously, the more trustworthy the company you keep, the more trustworthy you will be – in the eyes of Google.

Link Neighborhood

Inversely, spam sites generally link to other spam sites. So if you have despicable neighborhood friends, you’re bound to be despicable as well.

Freshness

Just as bread turns stale if left out, so do links. Times like these require a little refresher in order to maintain popularity. What we mean is, continue to link build to keep heads turning, and more importantly, Google smiling.

Social Sharing

We’re not sure how, but Google does take into account the social scene. The more shares and retweets you receive, the higher you jump on the totem pole of coolness. (Find out how to get more Facebook likes and shares!)

Also keep in mind that buying links is frowned upon. It’s considered a high-risk tactic. Big Brother will find out and he’ll slap you off your high horse by penalizing you. So, utilize these tips in order to boost your google authority through link backs.

Happy Linking!

By Lori Isbell

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Facebook "Like" Button

Is The Facebook Like Button Ruining Your Life?

What if every time you hit the Facebook like button you had to call the respective business and tell them their products interest you and then ask them for other recommendations of similar businesses so you could call them and tell them of your impending interest in their products or services?  Sounds crazy, right?  I think so!  So, why are we so apt to dole out this information on Facebook and do we fully understand the impact this can have on our lives?

To start, let me say – “I get it” – the Facebook “like” button can be a sexy beast.  It’s so easy, quick, and mindless.  It allows people to show support, sympathy, interest, approval, humor, or agreement just to name a few.  But something we all need to understand is that every time we click “like” we are sending information back to Facebook so they can alter the algorithm that’s responsible for the information they spit out to us.

The 48-Hour Test of the Like Button

Matt Honan recently wrote an article about his experience and resulting effect from liking everything on Facebook within a 48-hour period.  The results were astonishing and quite disturbing to be honest.  I’ll let you read the article in full (it’s a worthy investment of your time) but in a nut shell his Facebook feed was overrun by everything commercial, even more specifically, news sites.  He saw fewer and fewer of his friends’ posts (despite liking all of his friends posts during the time period) and he found himself pigeon-holed into a newsfeed that would swing from tea-party conservative to the most liberal of left-wingers.  This was because Facebook took the information he was giving them through his “likes” and started pushing more targeted ads to him.  Now, why they removed his friends posts and only showed him predominantly commercial stuff – I think that’s pretty obvious – money talks – and that’s all I think we need to mention on that front!

Ironically, Facebook became a place he didn’t “like” very much and from the sounds of it – it wasn’t very “social” at all….hmmmm.  Even more disheartening was the point that Honan touched on about the potential pitfall of surrounding yourself with ideology that fits so nicely into your little box of personal preferences.  I think anytime you surround yourself with so much of what you “want” to hear you start missing out on what you “need” to hear.

The Like Button Is Not a Good Confidant

Now, if you’re thinking “no big deal if my newsfeed gets overrun with stuff I’m interested in, I’m OK with that” then super for you, but are you also comfortable with those “likes” revealing things about your identity that you don’t feel are necessarily “public knowledge”?  Raphael Satter wrote an article back in 2013 highlighting a study by the National Academy of Sciences regarding the assumptions derived from 58,000 Facebook user’s “like” patterns.  Here are a couple excerpts of interest:

“The study found that Facebook likes were linked to sexual orientation, gender, age, ethnicity, IQ, religion, politics and cigarette, drug or alcohol use. The likes also mapped to relationship status, number of Facebook friends, as well as a half-dozen different personality traits.”

“Among the more poignant insights was the apparent preoccupation of children of divorce with relationship issues. For example, those who expressed support for statements such as “Never Apologize For What You Feel It’s Like Saying Sorry For Being Real” or “I’m The Type Of Girl Who Can Be So Hurt But Still Look At You & Smile” were slightly more likely to have seen their parents split before their 21st birthday.”

While Facebook’s Frederick Wolens downplayed the significance of the study, others applauded it.  I’m sure there’s some truth, or rationale, to both sides but it does beg the question, “Are we revealing too much?”

I think there’s multiple ways to look at this phenomenon and no which way is “right” or “wrong” but rather a measure of personal allowance.  I’m not comfortable with Facebook or BuzzFeed or Kohl’s knowing my personal preferences and for that reason, I withhold MANY “likes” from businesses I do frequent just to maintain a certain level of privacy.  But other people may revel in the fact that their newsfeed is 100% republican news sources or that they always know the drink specials at their favorite downtown bars – to each his own! The main thing we all need to understand is that even the smallest of acts – like hitting “like” – has a BIG impact on your target-ability and may, over time, get you sequestered to a small niche of business and personal information that isn’t necessarily representative of the world around us.  It’s certainly food for thought!

Of course there’s always a “healthy” dose of “likes” to be had and if you’re looking to run a healthy business campaign to attract potential customers, we’ve got you covered in our blog about “How to Get Facebook Page Likes”

What’s your thoughts about the “like” button? Share them below!

By Nikki Blews


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Benefits of social media marketing

7 Benefits of Social Media Marketing for SMB’s

Let’s do this backwards.  Normally I would list 4 decent benefits of social media marketing, build you up to the big climax and then lay the big one on ya! But, not today. Today, we’re going to cut the crap and get right to it.

So, you wanna know the MAIN reason you and your business need to be active on social media?

And if they’re not, you’re missing the point.

Those fury cat pics are cute and the “Happy Friday” posts will probably get you some Likes. Oh and the video of Jimmy Kimmel performing the History of Rap with Justin Timberlake is sure to be a crowd pleaser, but where are all those posts getting you?  How much money are you making from them?

No answer required here.  Those were rhetorical questions.

You need to concentrate on posting original content created by you that takes your fans off of Facebook or Twitter and onto your website blog. And when you’re not promoting a blog post, you need to be directing your fans and followers to landing pages on your site. I’m not just talking about a page on your website that people “land” on. I’m talking about a webpage specifically designed to capture leads that has a free offer in exchange for an email address (and sometimes more info).

To learn more about landing pages and how to create a killer one, check out Chapter 3 in our FREE eBook “The 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks and Ideas.”

Other Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Increased Exposure: Obviously, this one goes without saying, but the power of social media is extraordinary in terms of reaching a lot of people with minimal effort. It is the perfect outlet for promoting your useful, relevant and timely content.  But, it better be all 3 of those things or your fans will start dropping like flies.

Getting to Know Your Customers: If you post intriguing material, fans will tell you what they think. And those comments are priceless when you are trying to discover who your ideal customer is, what they need, what they want and how you can help them. Social media gives you the opportunity to engage and interact with your fans not as a business, but as a human running a business. This is an easy way to set yourself apart from your competition because many of your competitors are not taking advantage of this.

Social Listening: There so many tools out there now that allow you to monitor conversations, hashtags and keywords of your choosing across multiple social media channels. There’s Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Sprout Social, Social Mention, Hubspot, etc.  The list could go on and on. Find one and use it!

Why should you care what everyone else is saying?  Suppose you have a local liquor store and you monitor words like #party, #rum, #goodtimes, etc.  Then, when someone tweets out “Getting ready to make my famous rum punch for our New Year’s Eve party!”, you can tweet back with a discount or some special deal to draw them into your store instead of a big guy like ABC Liquor.

Perhaps even more opportunistic is monitoring social feeds for your competitors’ names. Now-a-days, the first thing people do when they have a bad experience with a company is take to Twitter or Facebook to vent their frustration. Be there to offer a better alternative and be the hero.  Timing is everything in life and social media marketing is no different.

Social Proof: Your website tells people what you want them to know. Social media tells people what they want to know. Your website is going to look like a glowing resume of all your strengths….and it should! But, the interactions you have with your fans on your social profiles speak the truth….volumes of it. And you’re crazy if you don’t think that consumers check you out on social before buying from you. So, start capitalizing on it!

Marketing Budget Savings: Everyone has their panties in a bunch over Facebook only allowing less than 5% of your fans to see your posts. It’s not fair….I agree. But, the truth of the matter is that even though you now have to “pay to play”, it’s still cheaper than running magazine ads, tv commercials and radio ads. Plus, when you run an ad on Facebook (for example) you can choose your target audience right down to the type of food they like. You can’t control who picks up a magazine or hears your radio ad on the way to work.  You know the general demographics of their readers/listeners and hope the right people see/hear your ad.

SEO: The text you fill in under the bio section of your social media profile is SEO gold when optimized properly. Think of each one of your social profiles as another opportunity to rank for your keywords. Google crawls your profile bios much the same way it crawls your website pages in order to deliver the most accurate search results for Googlers. In addition, Google gives serious weight in search results to websites who have a Google+ page.  So, while its hard to picture Google+ as a social network like Facebook right now, the SEO benefits of it are crystal clear. Don’t miss this boat….you’ll be kicking yourself down the road.

How about you?  Have you personally experienced any of these benefits of social media marketing?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

By:  Kelly Gretzinger

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Businessman Walking To The New Year 2014

Best Social Media Marketing Tips

Need a little help finding the best social media marketing tips?

Don’t know if any of the “rules” have changed?

We hope you’ve been following our blogs on all things social media. If so, you’ve heard our advice on topics such as inbound marketing, how to get Facebook likes, and landing pages, among others. If you’re new here, welcome! And don’t worry, you can catch up.

Today, we’re bringing you a little recap of “do’s” in the social media world. They’ll help make your life just a little less stressful (Don’t toss your Xanax – I said a LITTLE less stressful). This is a concise list of what’s uber-important for succeeding in social media this year, according to a contributing writer at Forbes.com. Check it out: 20 Social Media Tips to Rule in 2014.

We’ve touched on many of these in our recent posts, but we feel they’re important enough to reiterate.

Pay particular attention to #9 (wink, wink).

Enjoy!

By Lori Isbell


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Oh No

Social Media in Business: Avoiding Social Blunder

Ever wonder why some companies soar in social media and others fizzle out?

The companies that are truly successful with social media have their finger on the pulse of their audience. They know what to post, what topics will spark online interaction, and what their target audience needs. But more importantly, they know what NOT to do. Those successful companies know how to avoid social blunder. We’ll give you some insight into their social media savvy to help you grow your business through social media.

The Business Insider posted an article recently on social media mistakes. They polled some business execs via Twitter to identify the mistakes that people may not realize they’re making. We’ve picked a few of our faves and given you our take on them…

 5 Tips to Avoid Social Blunder

 1) Too much time spent on self-promotion –

People don’t want to hear about YOU or how great your company is. They want information. They want to hear what’s going on in your industry, but they really don’t care for narcissism. That’s not to say you can’t self-promote every now and then. No one can blame you for wanting to boast about being named “#1 nail salon in Florida” (That’s quite a feat!). But leave the bragging to a minimum.

 2) Blurring the lines between professional and personal –

Oh no. This could be considered social suicide. Remember that when people are reading posts from pages they’re following, they expect those posts to be related to that niche. It is never a good idea to intermingle business posts amongst posts about drinking your face off at the bachelor party on Saturday. Your goal with using social media is to attract possible clients/customers to your business, and for them to consider you an authority in your field. Blurring the lines between professional and personal posts does just the opposite. And frankly, posting drunken pics is just unbecoming.

 3) Airing bad feelings –

Ah, yes. The dirty laundry. Most humans find some inherent and irresistable urge to read about gossip (just look at the success of mags updating the world on the ruined lives of celebs)…..But this is not a good idea when you are trying to maintain a professional and authoritative status amongst your viewers. Along the same blurred lines of professional vs personal posts, don’t succumb to the urge to tongue-lash someone who has wronged you or your company. ALWAYS maintain a business-minded approach to any and all posts to avoid losing credibility with your audience.

 4) Expecting social media to do all the work –

Engagement is key with a social media strategy. The post itself is not the most important part of your marketing strategy, the subsequent interaction is! To think that you can set yourself/your company up on all the social channels and then never lift a finger again, is not only wishful, it’s delusional. Constant engagement is paramount to your success on social media channels.

 5) Not responding to customers –

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous category. You MUST treat your customers as a priority. Whether they are reaching out to you with a concern, complaint, or heck, even praise, you must never let their voice go unheard. That’s a quick way to lose engagement by that customer. And if you think that other followers won’t notice the interaction, rather, lack of interaction, then you need a lesson in Human Nature 101. Others will notice and they’ll get the impression that your business does not value the feedback of its customers. #socialblunder

There are many ways to market your business on social media channels, and just as many to avoid social blunder. The above listed tips are just a handful of the ones we think really hit home. To gain more insight, read the full article on the Business Insider website. Go a step further and find out what you SHOULD be doing to keep your fans engaged with How to Get Facebook Page Likes!

Questions, comments, concerns? Let us know! Your voice will be heard. :)

By Lori Isbell


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Keywords SEO key open shiny gold lock cylinder

5 Tips for WordPress SEO

Looking for the best tips to optimize your blog posts?

Need your blog to get noticed?

We’ll let you in on a few important secrets to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) game. Well, they’re more like “tips” rather than “secrets”….I mean, a few thousand people may already be privy to this information. But we want YOU to know a little WordPress SEO how-to. So listen up!

The concept of SEO is multifaceted. There are many ways to spruce up your posts to get them viewed, but one of the most – if not THE most – important factor is: keywords. Your posts should be centered around a target keyword. When planning your post, it’s important to begin writing with the mindset that you are trying to promote a specific idea.

While we won’t get into the process of choosing an optimal keyword in this post, know that keyword research is not to be taken lightly. You want to use one that gets Googled. Because, after all, Google is where it’s at (in our humble opinion). There are several sites that can help you chose a great keyword, such as HubSpot and Google Adwords. Check ‘em out.

Once you have chosen a keyword(s), you can proceed to writing your post, infiltrating the word(s) where ever you can. You want to make the presence of the keyword(s) noticeable, while maintaining the integrity of the post by not over-saturating it with nonsensical keyword placement.

Now, on to the meat and potatoes of this post….

In order to optimize your post based on a focused keyword, there are several components that must contain the exact verbage of your keyword. Your post will show up on a Google search provided the keyword is written exactly as the “Googler,” if you will, types it into the search bar.

WordPress SEO components:

 – The Article Heading – The actual title of your blog/article.

 – The Page Title – (aka: SEO title) The link that you click on to visit a page in the search results.

 – The Page URL – The address to your page.

 – The Content – This is where you strategically plug those keywords, but only if it makes sense. To preserve readability, don’t try too hard. If you’re struggling to get that keyword in your content, it usually shows.

 – The Meta Description – The meta description is that descriptive line or two under the SEO title when you Google something. Ever notice it? That’s the meta description.

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Now that you are aware of the components, check out this handy dandy little plug-in called Yoast. Yoast is an excellent tool to use as a guide while optimizing your blog posts. The way it works is, you enter your focus keyword, and Yoast will analyze your post and let you know what you’re missing. It will show you how many times your keyword appears in all 5 of the above-mentioned categories.

 

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To delve a little deeper into the analytics, Yoast will give you a detailed page analysis by clicking the “Page Analysis” tab…

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You can also take it a little further with the “Advanced,” “Social,” and “Manual” tabs, but for the sake of learning the basics, the first two tabs should help you get a running start.

While there are many ways to optimize your blog posts, we utilize Yoast as a quick, reliable guide to ensure we are hitting our benchmarks in regards to the focus keyword(s). Best of all, it’s free!

 Having trouble narrowing down a topic to blog about? Take a peek at this helpful guide.

Do you use another plug-in for keyword analytics? Tell us about it!

By Lori Isbell


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Social Media Buttons

How do I promote my blog? [Infographic]

Want to drive traffic to your blog?

Want to ensure that people will share it?

You’ve written your blog post. You’ve posted it on your WordPress/website. With a sigh of relief, you kick your feet up on the coffee table with arms crossed behind your head, eyes closed.

You drift off into an Alice in Wonderland type of dreamlike state. You see “like” and “share” bouncing off clouds. “Retweet” materializes in the sky from the fireworks off in the distance. Everyone you encounter says, “Hey! Great blog post!” and “Thanks for blogging about your extensive knowledge”…or “YOU are the smartest person alive!”…….Ahhhhhh, this IS the life, you concede. But then the faint sound of dog barking in the forest entrances you. You begin to follow the unmistakably familiar tune to a hole in the sky. (What? A hole in the sky? Whatever, this is awesome). So you climb a ladder that has magically appeared in front of you. And as you emerge from the rabbit hole that you so gracefully squeezed through, you realize: the dog that’s barking is yours. He’s outside, tearing up every panel of your screen enclosure because he’s chasing a squirrel – he’s never going to catch that squirrel. Why won’t he learn?

So, to dissuade the propensity to strangle Rover, you decide to check your blog post. You can’t wait to see the comments, shares, likes, and retweets. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t LOVE your post?! No one, that’s who.

But when you check your post – nada. Not one comment. Not one share. Nothing. “Oh, wait, I need to refresh the page. Duh”……….[crickets]……..nothing. You check the clock. You’ve been asleep for 3 hours?! Whaaaaaaaat? Secretly loving that you got in an amazing nap, you wonder why the heck no one has seen your blog. And if they have, why on Earth didn’t they like it?

Truth is, it’s not because your content is weak. Well, maybe it is, but to give you the benefit of the doubt, it’s not. It’s because you have done nothing to promote that blog! You may have just written the epitome of all blogs, but it’s just sitting in the blogosphere with all the other blogs, waiting to be viewed. You need to make others see it. So you think,

“How do I promote my blog?”

Well, funny you should ask. I happened to have found a sweet, super simple little infographic that is sure to help you get the views that you’ve dreamt about. The folks over at HowToMakeMyBlog.com made a dummy-proof guide to the steps you should take AFTER your blog post is written. And by dummy, I mean me. Hey, everyone needs a little help now and then. 😉

Enjoy, and you’re welcome.

Content Marketing Routine After Publishing A Post (infographic)
Get more content marketing advice at HowToMakeMyBlog.com.

 

Want to know how to get more Facebook likes for your post? This article is JUST what you need!

By Lori Isbell


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My Blog Button On The Keyboard Key Close-up, Keyboard Keys

Best Blog Directories

Looking for new ways to promote your blog?

Trying to break into the blogosphere with exciting new content?

Want to gain online authority?

A blog directory may be just the ticket.

So you’ve established your blog – or maybe you’re trying to –  and you’re not sure how to get your name out there. Besides social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., and marketing yourself on your own website, it may be time to incorporate a little more narcissism. Yes, narcissism.

We live and work in a dog-eat-dog world, folks. Which means, you’ve gotta be your own biggest fan. Be your own cheerleader. Be your own sports agent. You’ve gotta jump up and down, flailing your arms, while screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!….Put me in coooaaaccchhhh!” And we feel that submitting your awesome content to a few of the best blog directories will help you get in the game.

The basis behind these sites is pretty simple, yet genius at the same time: You submit your blog posts to a site, where it gets indexed and becomes searchable for others who are browsing the site. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Whether you’re trying to drive traffic to your website/blog for potential customers, trying to gain a loyal following, or trying to get picked up by other companies as a content writer, this is a great place to start. Most of them are free, but others require a membership that entitles you to some perks. We’ve found a great list that was created by SEJ (Search Engine Journal) that we feel gives a simple breakdown of each site. So, take a look, visit the sites, and see which ones best fit your needs. Don’t be afraid to utilize several different sites to see which ones are capturing your target audience.

23 Blog Directories To Submit Your Blog To

Once you’ve driven the traffic to your site, find out the best ways to convert that traffic into leads!

Happy Blogging!

By Lori Isbell


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convert website traffic into leads

5 Tips to Convert Website Traffic Into Leads

Your website is a prime piece of real estate when it comes to marketing your product or service.  It’s the mothership.  It’s your foundation.  It’s the first (and sometimes last) impression you make on potential customers.  So, you’d better make it good and treat every website visit as a possible sales lead.

So, how exactly do you convert website traffic into leads?

Keep reading to find out 5 ways to make the most of every single hit you get on your site…

Know Your Audience and Focus on THEM

This kind of goes without saying, yet so many websites miss the mark on this one.  People are simply more receptive to your message when you’re telling them how you are going to help THEM instead of how great your product or service is.  Tell me what’s in it for me and you’ve got my attention.  Start babbling about product features and my eyes glaze over. That’s not to say the product info isn’t important…because it is.  But, make that a secondary goal of each page and put solving your reader’s problems at the top of the list.

Let’s take an example right out of the movie “The Wolf of Wallstreet”….”Sell me this pen,” Leonardo diCapprio said to one of his sales guys.  The salesman proceeded to tell him it was the best pen ever made…another one said it might be the last pen he’d ever have to buy….bla bla bla.  Then, finally, one guy says, “Write your name on this piece of paper.”

Boom….the pen is sold not because of how smooth the ball point glides over the paper or how how comfortable the grip is, but because it solves my problem and the salesman put it in terms that matter to ME.

While this is more of a “sales lesson”, it also doubles as a lesson on how to grab attention and keep visitors on your site.

Offer FREE Value in Exchange for an Email Address

“Enter your email to subscribe to our monthly mailing list.” OR “Get a FREE eBook on How to Master XYZ when you enter your email below.”  Hmmmmm, which one is more likely to make you hand your email address over?  People love FREE and businesses love email addresses….it’s a win-win all the way around.

So, come up with something of value that you can offer like a free eBook, a checklist, an assessment, a consultation or even a free trial.  Then either plaster it all over your website coupled with an email signup box (ie the sidebar, at the bottom of blog posts, on the home page, etc.) OR place the offers on landing pages.  Keep reading…

Create Landing Pages

So, you’re talking the talk and you have a free offer and you are just asking for a teeny, tiny email address in return.  Sometimes the title of the giveaway is enough, but sometimes it isn’t! You normally need an opportunity to explain why the visitor needs this offer and how it will benefit them — not 5 paragraphs worth of an explanation, but just a few bullet points that really make the visitor understand that they are missing out if they don’t get the offer.  

These pages that contain the offer, email signup box and explanation are called Landing Pages.  You can see an example here.  The sole purpose of them is to capture leads.  Your visitors “land” on a specific page of your website (due to a little strategic marketing on your part) where they get something of value for free in exchange for some contact info.

Tip: On these pages, you will want to remove all navigation from the top of the page so the visitor is not distracted and tempted to click anywhere else on your site before entering that email address.  

Link to Relevant Landing Pages Throughout

Once you’ve got those golden landing pages live on your site, give people every opportunity to find them. You should be linking to them on static pages of your site as well as in blog posts wherever it is relevant and can add value to your page.

For example, if you are finding this blog post helpful, you’ll probably love our eBook about Online Lead Generation Tips and Tricks.

See the way I just plugged that landing page in there?  The eBook is relevant to this blog post and I think it will be uber useful to you if you are enjoying this blog post, so I let you know about it!

Place a Call-To-Action (CTA) on every single page

A cardinal rule of marketing, especially inbound marketing, is to be crystal clear as to what you’d like your reader to do next.  What steps do you want them to take after reading a web page or a blog post? Don’t leave it to question….tell them what actions you’d like them to take!

Click here….Call (555) 555-5555 now!….Get XYZ….Download this….Check out that.  Whatever it is….tell them.  You need to do this minimally at the bottom of every single web page and blog post…..every single one. And if you don’t have a specific, logical next step, minimally ask for their email address so you can continue to nurture the lead via email.

And it doesn’t hurt to make it look pretty!  A CTA doesn’t always have to be a boring line of text hyperlinked to another page.  You’ll notice the CTA at the bottom of this blog post is a simple, yet eye-catching graphic prompting you to download a free ebook about Online Lead Generation.  And then I also follow it up with an email signup box in the event my readers aren’t quite ready to download anything from me.

What about you?  Do you practice any of these methods on your website to convert more site visitors to leads?  I’d love to hear how they work for you or about any tactics that work better in the comments below!

By Kelly Gretzinger


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Inbound vs outbound marketing

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing – ‘Tis the Question

Annoying pop up ads, junk emails that flood your inbox and billboards that beg you to look up for just a sec on your way to work….ahhhh the good ole outbound marketing days.  NOT!  Back in the day, that’s just what companies did.  They paid to get in front of their customers, who were ready or not.  As long as you could afford it, it worked.  But, the evolution of the internet changed all that (thank goodness!) and inbound marketing was born…..a form of marketing that, ahem, earns your attention.

So, inbound vs outbound marketing…which one is right for your business?  Well, first you have to understand what each one is.

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound Marketing is your traditional ole in “push marketing” that utilizes print ads, pop-up ads, billboards, spammy emails and radio/TV slot ads to get in ‘yo face.  It begs, no…pays, for your attention and pleads with you to buy a product or service.  Outbound Marketing is very company/brand/product/service centric in that the point of the ad is to tell you about the features of the product or service….period.  These tactics are, as you can imagine, get more and more effective the deeper your pockets go.  It ain’t cheap!

Let’s say you are an electronics store and want to boost sales of the latest state-of-the-art LCD flat screen TV you have just stocked up on.  Your objective is to sell this TV….a lot of them.  You decide to run some ads in a gaming magazine telling people how awesome this new TV is.

For example, you might run a print ad with the following text:  “Check out our new line of Brand XYZ’s flat screen TV’s!  They boast 600Hz refresh rates and have built in wifi!  Come by today to take a look and hurry because supplies are limited.”  The consumer will likely see this ad on the sidebar, on the top or maybe even smack in the middle of an article they are <trying> to read about the new Xbox One.  So, in this case, the consumer wasn’t looking for info on new TV’s, has no interest in purchasing one at this time and is more than likely a bit annoyed that his reading got interrupted with the ad.

Inbound Marketing attacks this same objective (to sell the TV) from a completely different angle….keep reading.

What is Inbound Marketing?

 

Inbound Marketing, on the other hand, is a term coined by Hubspot that entails “pull marketing” whereby you offer value to your potential customers via eBooks, blog posts, webinars, video tutorials, etc. in an effort to earn attention.  This approach focuses on the consumer and how it will benefit them as opposed to the product/service itself.

In fact, most of the time, Inbound Marketing isn’t about the product or service at all.  It’s about providing an abundance of education and value that will make the consumer want to take a look at what you’re selling…on their own free will.  Why?  Well, because you are positioning yourself as a thought leader…..someone who genuinely wants to answer their questions and give them the info they need to make an informed decision.

Let’s use the same example as before…..

You want to sell your new badass TV.  An Inbound Marketer, instead of running a print ad, would probably write a few blog posts and then share them on their social media channels and submit them to various news aggregators like Reddit and StumbleUpon.  The topics of the articles would probably be something along the lines of “Does the Refresh Rate of HDTVs Really Make a Difference?”, “Top 10 Reasons to Own an HDTV With Wifi” and “7 TV Events That Require an HDTV”.  With proper SEO and keyword research, these articles start showing up in search results when someone hits the Google machine for info on the best HDTVs on the market.

Likewise, John, who has been actively looking to replace his boob tube for some time, found one of the articles particularly helpful and decides to share it on Facebook.  It lands in the News Feed of his friend Bill, who happens to be casually looking for a new TV, but hasn’t had the time to research it yet.  What do you think Bill does?  He clicks on the link of course!  You just got Bill not only to engage in sales process of a product that he already wants (and you have) but to come to you first…all on his own free will.

You’re now not just an electronics store owner, you’re a thought leader.

Ahhhhh, the beauty of social media.

See the difference?  

Now, there are exceptions….

Say you build custom California closets for a living and place an ad in a local magazine titled “Homeowner’s Hub:  Find Contractors in Your Area” which consists entirely of ads for services that someone might need around the house.  It says so right on the cover.  In this case, the consumer is not going to even open the cover of that magazine unless they are in the market for some home renovations or improvement.  They aren’t looking to read an article about how to build your own custom closet…..they are looking to find a reputable company to do it for them, which is exactly what the magazine will tell them.  So, an outbound ad of this type usually works quite well.

As another example, I see a commercial for a big, fat, juicy burger on TV around 11:30 am.  I just may go out and get that burger (and of course make it a combo) because that commercial made my mouth water.

I’m not going to Google it.  I’m not going to call all my friends and poll them on the best burger in town.  I’m not going to check Yelp for a review of the establishment.  I’m going to go buy that delicious-looking burger, get it in my belly and go about my day.  I’d say that is pretty effective marketing considering I already had my salad prepared in the fridge.

So which one will be more effective for you?

This is a loaded question because there are so many things to consider.  

 

Reasons to use Outbound Marketing:
  • Looking for leads
  • Need fast(er) results
  • Have a high budget
  • Willing to repeat efforts continuously to get new leads
  • Don’t like to deviate from traditional methods
  • Sell very low cost products/services that people don’t often research before buying
  • Have very targeted advertising mediums available to you
  • Don’t use your website as a supreme piece of real estate

 

Reasons to use Inbound Marketing:
  • Looking for qualified leads
  • Willing to put in the time and sweat to see long-term results
  • Have a limited budget
  • Looking for more loyal, repeat business obtained over time
  • Like to think outside the box
  • Sell products/services at a price that is worth the time to research
  • Want to capitalize on opportunities that social media networks and search engines present to grow your business
  • Want consistent web traffic

 

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both.  But, I hope you have a clearer picture of which one is right for you after reading this article.  Often times, it’s a combination of both!

Which marketing methodology do you subscribe to?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below…

By Kelly Gretzinger

Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!