Online Marketing

How to Create a Blog That Converts

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If you are like most bloggers, you aren’t blogging as a hobby: you want to make some money. Making money boils down to converting traffic into sales. The first step is to figure out what you want to write about. It should relate to your business, and be valuable to your readers. Next, you need traffic, and various ways of getting visitors to buy your product or service. That's the short of it. Let's dive in a little deeper with 9 tips to help you on your way to a successful blog.

1. Speed Up

You need to have a fast website. Otherwise, your visitors are going to move on to one that is faster. According to Google, speed is one of the main things looked at in search ranking algorithms. Make sure that your site is as fast as possible, and don’t use a lot of high resolution videos that will slow things down. Videos are important, but to prevent long loading times,  it’s best to sparingly use shorter videos that will retain the attention of your visitors.

2. Make Sure Copy is Scannable

Many users will not give your page their full attention, so you need to make sure that it’s scannable. Keep paragraphs short so readers can easily discern the structure of your content. Use bullet points, dashes, arrows, etc. to get your points across, and readers will be more apt to pay attention to what you have to say. This will let you effectively lead them to the CTA.

3. Build a Subscriber List

It’s important to have an email marketing list if you want to grow your blog. Use your list to make connections and market your products or services. You will need to find the right email marketing tool, and you need a platform for storing subscribers. Once you have your list, you can send out regular newsletters, announcements, personalized notes, etc. to keep your business fresh in the minds of your customers. Be sure that your email content offers something of value to your customers, and draws them back to your website.

4. Use Visuals

Our brains process visuals a lot faster than text: 60,000 times faster, in fact. So, it goes without saying that content containing  a lot of visuals are going to be viewed more often than content with no visuals. Having awesome visuals engages visitors, and show readers what your business has to offer. Visuals include both photos and videos; the better they are,  the better your sales are ultimately going to be.

5. Use Your Call-to-Action

In order for you to get sales, customers have to act. That is why you need a call-to-action (CTA). You must ask your customers to do something. Use a CTA that is going to grab their attention, but make it simple: think titles like “Buy it Now” or “Download Now”. Make sure that the offer is tempting enough that they will want to take advantage and click on the CTA. If your CTA is persuasive and the customer finds your product valuable, chances are that they will go to the next step.

6. Make the Design Stand Out

Your landing page should be attractive and eye catching, and never cluttered. Take advantage of color psychology; soft blues create a calming sense, and red stimulates. Leave a bit of white space so that the page is easier to read. Use images and videos to grab attention, but don’t go overboard and bombard the senses of your readers with too much flash and bang. This often comes off as pushy and inauthentic.

7. Conduct Regular User Surveys

In order to know what your customers really want, you have to come right out and ask them. This is why it is so important to do customer surveys on a regular basis - for instance, users who create CoSchedule accounts are asked to take part in surveys at the point of registration, which allows CoSchedule to see what users are looking for.  You will need to use the right tool, such as Survey.io, which lets you create user surveys regularly. Use this feedback to make sure that you are giving customers what they need.

8. Offer Validation from the Big Guys

When you are able to do affiliate marketing, you can use name brands to draw readers to your own brand. It may take a bit of time and effort, but try to get brands that are well known, and avoid the lesser known brands. When people see brands they recognize on your site, they are going to associate you with the brands that they already know and trust.

9. Start a Podcast

Podcasts are a great way to build your personal brand and credibility. Through podcasts, you can inspire other bloggers and help them by offering guidance and support, using various online marketing tools. This is a great way of adding personal touch to your blog. Seize every opportunity to connect with your audience and deepen the relationship between your brand, and your readers.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here. 

 


7 Things to Consider When Launching an E-commerce Site

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If you’re considering the launch of an e-commerce website, you are poised to cash in on a continually growing trend. UPS’s 2016 Pulse of the Online Shopper study reported that 51 percent of shopper purchases are made online.

However, there’s more to launching an e-commerce site than simply launching your business in cyberspace. There are technical, legal and fulfillment challenges, to name a few.

First, you must choose a domain name. If your business has a unique name like Wally’s Wowza Widgets, you’re in luck. Otherwise, you may have a hard time finding a URL that’s not already taken. Cyber squatters have found it quite lucrative to buy up popular domain names and sell them for profit. Keep in mind that .com is no longer your only option, and not necessarily your best. Newer choices include .shop, .store, .buy and dozens more. One site you can use to check domain availability is WHOis.net. While you’re there, you also can register your domain, which is the next step on the road to a successful e-commerce site.

Next, you’ll need to decide whether you want to build the site from the ground up, so to speak, or use a prepackaged option such as  Shopify’s E-commerce Website Builder. The latter is a good option for smaller companies or those with a tight launch time frame.

Let’s assume you want to go it on your own. Here are the basics you must consider before “going live.”

  1. The Home Page & Beyond

Think of the home page as your storefront. It’s where you’ll promote seasonal specials, new items, and more. This is the most valuable “real estate” on your entire site, so don’t waste it. While product images will attract potential customers, it’s content that will attract the search engines.

That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important. Not only should you have quality, relevant content on your entire site, you must include common keywords and phrases to boost your position in search results. Learning how to use SEO effectively is important for the success of your business.

The home page is the gateway to all of your products, so you must make it easy for visitors to navigate your website. Just because you categorize products in a certain way doesn’t mean your customers do. If you already have a brick-and-mortar store, take note of how departments are arranged and how products are displayed.  

Categories in your navigation menu do not have to be listed alphabetically. If it makes more sense (and results in more sales) to list top-selling categories first, then go for it.

Amazon does a great job of making it easy for customers to find what they want. As illustrated below, it guides first-time visitors and welcomes return customers. It features seasonal content in a clean, uncluttered layout.

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  1. Products, Hierarchy & Descriptions

As with an offline store, you must determine the inventory for your e-commerce site. You don’t have to offer everything you sell in your brick-and-mortar store. In fact, you shouldn’t. Think about it: if you have very large items, shipping costs can be exorbitant, and the hassle is rarely worth it. If you do decide to offer oversized items, arrange for in-store pickup only. This is especially true if you offer free shipping, as you’re likely to take a big loss here.

Once you determine your product assortment, you need to create a visual presentation. This is often referred to as the product gallery. A few things to think about:

  • How many rows and columns per page?
  • How big should each product image be?
  • Will customers have the option to zoom in on an image? Pick color swatches?
  • How many clicks will it take to purchase?

Uncommon Goods offers visitors two ways of finding products. First, more traditional categories appear in the navigation bar on the home page. As shown below, because it is a gift-oriented site, products are  grouped by occasion and other attributes.

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Just as you don’t need to offer the exact same items that are in your offline store, your pricing structure may differ, too. Many customers expect to find better bargains online, so you’ll have to manage those expectations. Some companies, such as Lenox, do not traditionally offer discounts on individual products. To make up for this, they offer a percentage off the entire purchase, free gift wrap, a bonus gift or similar promotions.

How you describe your products is equally important, but when it comes to this point, don’t think you are restricted to a single style or standard.  Fans of “Seinfeld” will remember Elaine, who worked as a copywriter for the J. Peterman catalog, hailed by those in the industry for its eloquent copy. Its real life site, like its catalog, uses product descriptions much longer than industry standards. However, it’s actually effective, as evidenced below. You’ve got to figure out what works best for your products and your audience and run with it. Whatever you do, though, you can’t ignore SEO.

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  1. User Experience (UX)

Try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Sometimes you are too close to your products to understand how they are perceived by others. You need to walk through the online shopping experience from beginning to end, uncovering any roadblocks along the way. Best practice is to ensure that no more than three clicks are needed for a user to reach his/her destination.

Web features that you may think are great might actually annoy your customers. Take dropdown menus, for instance: menus that automatically expand when your cursor hovers over them may obscure other elements on the page, making for a frustrating experience.

Give your customers the option to continue shopping once they are in the checkout area. The inability to return to the exact point where they left off can be irritating.

You also can't ignore mobile design. It goes without saying (but we'll say it anyways) that your site must be optimized for mobile devices. That means you might have to rethink your desktop navigation to make it mobile-friendly. Make sure to test your website on many devices, including desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets to ensure that the experience maintains a consistent quality across platforms that your customers are likely to use.

  1. The Checkout Process

If you’ve ever been stuck with a careless cashier or behind a clueless customer in the checkout line, you know how frustrating a slow or disorganized checkout process can be. The same goes for the online shopping experience. You want to create a streamlined checkout process. Failure to do so can easily result in the dreaded shopping cart abandonment.

Any time you obtain customer information, you run into privacy issues. This is extremely important for e-commerce sites which obtain credit card data. You not only need to have a privacy policy posted on your site, you must also be in compliance with legal regulations. In addition, your site must have advanced levels of security to protect confidential information.

Many customers prefer to pay by PayPal, so that is something you may want to consider. PayPal will even take care of managing credit card information for you, so this can be a good option for security and convenience.

Consider too, if you have a brick-and-mortar store, whether you will arrange procedures to allow for in-store pickup, and how to seamlessly integrate this option into the checkout process. These are just a few of the issues you'll need to address before setting up shop.

  1. Fulfillment

If you have offline stores, you already have order and fulfillment operations. If not, you must determine how you'll get orders from Point A to Point B. Will you house products in one main warehouse? Will you drop ship orders? Will everything be done manually, or will you use automation? Will you ship to Canada? International? U.S. only?

Before opening your store, decide on these issues, and plan your business around them. Getting an order from China can be expensive if your system was only organized with domestic shipping in mind.

  1. After the Sale

Your job is not over once a sale is made. Indeed, it's only beginning. You'll want to set up automated emails (called "triggered emails," because they are triggered by a user's action) to send order and shipping confirmations, and other order-related notifications. Note that these types of emails do not fall under the same CAN-SPAM guidelines as other emails.

You will need dedicated customer service staff for your e-commerce site. The site will be available 24/7, but will your customer service reps be? Will you offer live chat? Be sure to have a robust FAQ section to cut down on the number of inquiries to customer service.

You will also need to establish a return policy. Zappos is known for its customer-friendly policies:

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Take a look at the return policies of other companies, especially those in your market, since these will determine your customers’ expectations, and decide what’s right for you.

  1. If You Build It, Will They Come?

Just because you purchase a URL, build an e-commerce site and launch it, doesn't mean items will be flying off your virtual shelves overnight. In order for your venture to be a success, you'll need to promote it. You'll want to plaster your new URL on everything — collateral, packaging, point-of-purchase displays (if you have an offline store), advertising, etc. You will also want to invest in search engine marketing (SEM).

Establish a customer email database so that you can market regularly. For this, you will need an email signup on your homepage and be sure to comply with CAN-SPAM regulations.

You'll also want to track traffic, interactions and purchases on your site. That means you will need to set up tracking codes to use when directing traffic from emails, banner ads, etc.

In short, to run a successful e-commerce site, you need a plan. Think both short- and long-term. Rely on the guidance of experts — supply chain, legal, marketing, accounting, UX, creative — whether they are consultants, or full-time employees. Remember: you don't have to launch everything at once. It's best to launch your e-commerce site in phases. Start with the basics and add the bells and whistles once you've worked out the kinks.

Let the online shopping begin!

Darcy Grabenstein is a freelance copywriter with more than 20 years of experience in print and digital advertising. In the digital world, she has worked extensively with e-commerce and email campaigns. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: SEO For Business OwnersTurn Website Visitors into Customers via Conversion Optimization, Fundamentals of Online Marketing

Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

 


How to Develop a Crushing Video Marketing Strategy

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Video was bound to become the new go-to marketing tool sooner or later. Good videos can communicate as effectively as text and image based content, and often more powerfully. With new video sharing technologies and a myriad of formats to choose from, video should become an integral part of any marketing campaign. Since this is still a relatively new medium, marketers are still in the process of understanding what works best and what goes into making a crushing video marketing campaign. To help you along the way, here’s a list of points to consider when developing your video marketing strategy.

Choosing the Right Type of Video

There are so many video formats and techniques you can choose from, it can be overwhelming. Each can accomplish a different set of goals, so when it comes to choosing the right one, you should consult the broader plan for promoting your business. One of the first things you need to consider is video length - a conventional TV commercial lasts for about 30-45 seconds. On the internet, video ads can last even longer than that, since they are not constrained by the rules that apply to TV ads.

When it comes to choice of style or format, there are a number of valid choices. Animation tends to be the preferred format when it comes to explainer videos, since it can easily represent abstract concepts. Animations are also much easier to make than live action videos, and offer a broader range of stylistic choices and storytelling options.

Live-action videos with actors, props and sets can be more expensive, but they also lend a certain credibility to your brand. This format is especially suited for testimonial videos, which are also fairly easy to produce. Unfortunately, effective live-action videos can be more expensive and less permissive than animation. Both of these styles have a place, so take some time to consider what will work best for your individual needs.

Hire a Team of Professionals

When it comes to the production of your videos, there is a lot of free video-making software you can use. These may suffice for some organizations, but tend to offer only basic customization options. It’s also likely that many other companies use these free programs, so your video may end up looking like those produced by many other companies. That runs counter to the whole point of crafting a video strategy: to generate brand awareness, and create a memorable look for your business. With generic tools and software, it’s unlikely you will be able to create a memorable video. And failure to differentiate can mean the failure of your entire strategy.

If you’re looking to develop an amazing video marketing strategy, there’s no better option than to hire a professional team. Trust these video professionals to handle the creative side of things, and you can focus on strengthening the rest of your campaign.

Know Your Audience

Obviously you should enjoy the final cut of your video, but remember, you are not the target audience; your customers are. 

So, when you are planning the strategy, it is them you should be thinking about. Consider the age group you are addressing, but also the context in which these videos are likely to be seen. Are customers going to view them at work? In that case, you should invest in videos with a focus on descriptive imagery, so the story is easy to understand even with the sound turned off. Is your audience more likely to view the videos on mobile devices? In this case, animations with simple shapes and bright colors can work better for the relatively small screens of smartphones or tablets.

You don’t need to do special research to understand what kinds of videos your audience will appreciate. You can target your audience using the same metrics you’ve used for other marketing strategies. You can certainly ask more specific questions as the campaign evolves, but to begin, you can segment your audience in much the same way you have for other purposes.

Don’t Neglect Entertainment Value

When creating video campaigns, many companies focus on providing their customers with information about their business, offers and promotions. And that’s definitely what the ultimate goal of a video campaign should be. 

But that agenda is only relevant  to you and your company. Audiences certainly want to learn something by watching a video, but they also expect videos to be entertaining. Ignoring entertainment value will make your videos dry and uninteresting, and in the end, your audience may tune out your humorless infodump.

That is why, no matter what information you want to share, you must consider how you’re going to package it. The best way to get your audience’s attention and keep it is crafting  a story around the information you want to deliver. Envision a situation in which that information could become relevant to your customer and say something meaningful about it. Entertaining stories can bridge the gap between your business offers and solutions, and your customers’ needs and preferences.  

Consider Each Part of the Video

Creating a compelling story for your video might seem like a daunting task. But you don’t have to be an award-winning scriptwriter or director to understand how to craft a video that delivers a message effectively. The key is timing the different segments of the video so they form a coherent narrative. In a sense, it’s not much different than writing good text, which is why videos always begin as a written script.

You will have an introduction. This is where you establish your character/characters and the context in which the story happens. Next, you’ll want to establish some sort of conflict or issue that needs to be resolved. The middle of the story is the climax: how the issue escalates, and the implications of that escalation.

Arguably, the most important part is the ending, or resolution. Here you will weave your solutions into the plot. This is the message you want to communicate: that your solution solved a problem for the characters. How you end your video determines the meaning of the content, and the effect it will have on your viewers.

Don’t Give it All Away in One Go

Depending on how long you want your campaign to last, you should also consider the broader story your videos will construct. In order to make your whole strategy effective, you need to spread out information, and deliver it bit by bit.

That way, audiences will keep coming back for more. Curiosity is a very powerful force, and if you’ve hit the mark with your first couple of videos, your viewers will be hooked. Resist the temptation to give it all away in the first try, or your viewers won’t have any reason to tune in later.

If you do want to extend a campaign that’s been going well to maximize its potential, you can switch up the format you’ve established. Perhaps change styles in a radical way. But always try to maintain the same basic tone and principle. Serialized videos need to have some consistency in order for your audience to see the bigger picture that is fundamentally about your company, and how it is relevant to them.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.

Author bio: Cristopher Tuckerman is a digital marketing strategist and a zealous writer who's interested in all things SEO and design-oriented. He believes that since almost 50% of our brain is involved in visual processing and 70% percent of our sensory receptors are eyesight related, it’s reckless not to be interested in design principles. Do yourself a favor and follow Cris’ advice: make your business more visually striking!

 


5 Alternative Marketing Strategies for Niches

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Find your niche

Find your niche

Creating marketing strategies for niches is a daunting task for any marketer. Niche businesses can only cater to a small audience and address very specific issues. Unlike commodities or retail, which cater to a broad audience, niche markets have a harder time getting people interested. Here are a few key strategies for getting your niche business off the ground.

Build a Community that Generates Content

Communities, whether online or offline, are built around the specific interests and traits of their members. These groups are bound by the things that set them apart. You’ll probably never see a group of people who get together to discuss a very generic topic like eating. Everyone eats. On the other hand, a community might spring up when several people who are interested in a specific aspect of eating come together, like people who enjoy cooking and meet to swap recipes, or those who enjoy exotic foods and want to share their experiences.

Your niche can be just the thing to plant the seeds of such a community. With readily available social media tools, all potential customers need is a small incentive: a rally point. From there on, your clients and potential clients can do a lot of the marketing work for you. But it’s absolutely vital that you create a solid, customer-centric culture. Your customers should be your top priority, and they should know your business is geared towards them, not selling as many products as you can.

That’s why you should encourage debates and even constructive criticism in your community. On the one hand, this is going to give you some valuable feedback and insights that will help to improve your business. On the other hand, you’re going to encourage a conversation that has the potential to raise brand awareness and promote customer loyalty. When each customer feels like their opinion is valued, they are more likely to promote your business and generate useful content.

You can also engage with influencers to help consolidate this community. Influencers already have a group of loyal followers with common interests. If the influencers you choose to engage with are a good fit for your brand, raising awareness will be a piece of cake.

Focus on Client Needs, Not Product Specifications

There are certain products that tend to sell themselves. Marketers often focus on highlighting all of their product’s assets to make it stand out, but neglect to tell customers how exactly this is going to help them. For certain products or services, this approach works just fine. All customers know why they should buy clothes; all they need to know is what makes one brand superior to another.

When it comes to marketing for niches, however, you can’t just focus on how good a product is (although that can be important, especially when you have competition). Many times  - especially when it comes to cutting edge technology and recent developments -  customers won’t understand what a product even does, and won’t have incentive to buy unless you specify its practical functions. If you find it difficult to promote a niche product or service, try to focus on your client’s needs and how the product is tailored to address those needs, instead of trying to constantly prove it’s better than the competition. Although potential customers  may not know what your product does or how it can help them, they certainly know what their problems are.

Highlight What Makes Your Niche Business Special

Many products that are now wildly popular had a very limited appeal in the beginning, and didn’t catch on at first. But they knew how to make the most out of their uniqueness, and they are now household brands: they offered something no other product did, and that’s what made them so popular.

When you operate in a niche market, there are two situations you can find yourself in when it comes to competition: either you are faced with a small number of powerful competitors , or you are the only company providing the specific products or services that you offer.

In both cases, there is always something that sets your company apart. In the first case, you are already providing a service few other companies are. From a marketing perspective, you should use that as an asset rather than a downside.

If you do have competitors, it’s worth  analyzing how they do business. Maybe your products are similar, but your brand’s personality can make the difference. Combine this with an in-depth analysis of your target audience to figure out how you could approach your customers differently, or diversify your client base.

If your niche tends to focus on senior professionals, for example, maybe it’s time to reach out to the growing millennial market, even if it may seem like that won’t work. When it comes to marketing strategies for niches, there is no beaten path: whatever makes a brand special - whether it’s reaching a new audience or just finding solutions to unique problems -  is worth investing in.

Marketing Strategies for Niches Are Like Stage Performances

Though it may not seem like it, marketing and entertainment have a lot in common: they both imply an audience, and they both imply a space in which to meet this audience. The context of this space determines who will come to a performance, what they expect to see, and what shape the performance should take.

When it comes to marketing, there are many different stages you can use to reach out to your audience. Social media platforms are fast becoming the go-to place where brands and customers interact. And while we tend to discuss these social media networks as a group, just by using them you’ll quickly come to realize that each has its own unique perks and disadvantages when it comes to crafting marketing strategies for niches.

For example, most Twitter users claim they use this platform to stay updated on current events, traffic and weather reports. But the site is less popular when it comes to entertainment. And even though it has far more users than Instagram, teens believe Instagram is the second most important social media platform, which proves Twitter has a more mature audience.

We shouldn’t forget offline marketing either. While the digital world has become one of the most popular marketing playgrounds, there is still very much we can gain from traditional marketing strategies. This is especially useful when it comes to physical products. An image and good copy can do a lot to promote your brand, but nothing compares to sampling the products in real life or getting a behind-the-scenes look at your business.

Concentrate Your Efforts

Obviously, it’s a good idea to test out new and untapped markets. The more people you can reach, the better your chances of converting leads and raising brand awareness. But ultimately, you cannot turn every potential lead into a loyal customer. You need to focus on the audiences that work best, lest you end up angering your current customers while chasing leads that won’t work out.

Testing out how your product is received in different markets can show that some audiences are just not a good match. You can try to adapt your products and your brand to match the preferences of these groups, but if after months of trying it’s still not working out, perhaps it’s time to cut your losses.

In order to encourage customer loyalty, your current customers need to feel like they are important for your business. If you are constantly rebranding in order to reach out to increasingly diverse groups of people, your loyal customers might feel like they are no longer respected.

Sometimes, the best way to create brand awareness and maximize revenues is simply to consolidate a consistent brand image. Especially when you are operating in a niche market, it’s important to maintain coherence when it comes to the tone and personality of your business.

Conclusion

Marketing strategies for niches must be extra careful when it comes to tailoring campaigns to the requirements of the business. The uniqueness of the products, services or field in which the business operates can be the greatest asset a marketer can depend on. If you’re having trouble developing a marketing strategy for your niche, try one of these tips today, and embrace the strengths of your brand while building it.

Dustin Ford became interested in technology at an early age. He read as much as he could and now he enjoys writing about gadgets, online trends, and apps for TechExploring. He wants to share his knowledge with others and help everyone who has technology-related questions.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.

 


7 Best Productivity Tools for Digital Marketers

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Multitasking and productivity

Multitasking and productivity

As a digital marketer, you know that you must utilize tools like social media, analytics, data visualization, technical skills, teamwork, and others. But all this complexity can take up a lot of time, and time is money! For your digital marketing to actually be efficient and productive, it’s important to use everything at your disposal.  Unfortunately, there are so many productivity tools available that it can be difficult to choose the best ones that will work for all your digital marketing campaigns. That is why we have put together the following list of the top seven productivity tools for digital marketers to help keep teams on track and get work done more efficiently.

  1. Coschedule – Coschedule is a marketing calendar that will help you to plan, promote, execute, and automate your digital marketing by eliminating miscommunication, complex spreadsheets, and disconnected workflows, creating  total visibility among projects. Coschedule brings together content marketing, social media marketing, marketing projects, and blog management, making it the central location for all of your inbound marketing. There is one calendar for everything that your team is involved with, which you can use to plan, publish, promote, and automate all of your content.
  2. Time Doctor – This slick time management tool will give you the insights you need to know what is truly going on with your business at any time.  Time Doctor helps users to see how they are really spending their time, so they can make changes to dramatically increase productivity. Features include time tracking with screenshot monitoring, time spent in meetings, track time to clients and projects, see websites and apps used when working, a payroll module, login portal to see work done for clients, and dozens of other features  to keep your team on track.
  3. Skimlinks – Use this tool to monetize your content and get the most out of your digital marketing efforts. Skimlinks gives marketers the power  to create much more compelling content by leveraging insights about content that performs best, and determins what your readers want to see more of. This tool comes with busloads of features  that can  increase your earnings exponentially, and the data generated will help you to earn more from premium ad sales. The more you learn about what your readers want , the better your content is going to be. The better your content, the more your customers will make purchases!
  4. Infusionsoft – This  sales and marketing automation software is created specifically to help small businesses succeed. Using Infusionsoft, you can amp up your digital marketing efforts to capture more fresh leads, improve your conversion rates, become a master at e-commerce, manage every step of the sales process, and save a lot of time so you get even more done. You will learn about the tactics that others are using to achieve their digital marketing goals, and you can use these tactics to do the same for your business. And if this sounds like a tool you’d like to try, there are currently three sales promotions going on, so be sure to check out Infusionsoft’s website to learn more!
  5. Crowdfire – This is a Twitter and Instagram friend management app that makes gaining new followers easier than ever, especially when you apply your amazing digital marketing skills to your campaigns. Crowdfire  lets you clean and grow your Twitter accounts with automated DMs to send customizable messages, Instagram post scheduling, the ability to copy followers of competitors’ accounts, and to see who is not following you after you follow them. There are a number of pricing plans, from a free basic account to a high-usage Jupiter account, which is specifically for social media and communications agencies at $199 per month. This is a no-nonsense SaaS solution for increasing your Twitter audience.
  6. Hightail – No matter what type of marketing campaign your team is working on, you need tools  for sharing files, getting feedback, and bringing all your marketing projects from conception to completion. Hightail is a tool that allows creative digital marketing teams to collaborate on  the best marketing campaigns for your business, enabling them to work faster, and storing projects files in a single location that all team members can access. The feedback feature is especially useful, saving collaborators from the headache of organizing responses, and freeing up more time for creativity. You can sign up for free right now to try this tool, and see how it can improve every aspect of your digital marketing workflow.
  7. Basecamp – It’s  pretty easy to get off track while you are working on any type of digital marketing campaign, unless you are using the right tools for communication and organization. Basecamp allows you to run  digital marketing campaigns without resorting to email, texts, and meetings. This tool is a much better way to stay organized and get all of your marketing projects completed, by keeping your whole team on board and involved every step of the way. With everyone on the same page, potential problems can be mitigated and taken care of as soon as they arise.  Basecamp can improve every element of your digital marketing by keeping the most important priorities in view at all times.

These are just a few of the tools you can use to increase the effectiveness of all of your digital marketing. From being able to track time spent on projects, to maintaining open communication across the board and keeping project resources and tasks organized, these are practices that all digital marketing teams can benefit from. 

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.

 


How to Create a Successful Online Ad Campaign to Accomplish Brand Awareness

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Man creating brand awareness campaign Concept

Man creating brand awareness campaign

While technology has significantly changed how companies market their products and services over the years, the guiding principles behind successful advertising campaigns have remained constant.

Before you launch an advertising campaign, whatever the media and channels, you first must know be able to answer these questions:

  • What is the marketing budget?
  • How long will the ad campaign run?
  • What are your marketing goals?
  • Who is your audience?
  • How will you measure your marketing goals?

It also helps to know what your competitors are doing. More on that later.

First things first

Let's not put the shopping cart before the horse, so to speak. That is, one of your first tasks is to determine the campaign's overall goal. If your goal is to sell products or services, you will be creating a much more aggressive campaign than if your goal is to increase brand awareness.

You can find a great deal of information on digital advertising campaigns designed to drive conversions. Somewhat less prevalent are articles focusing on the creation of online advertising campaigns simply designed to create brand awareness. We're talking apples and oranges or, in this case, conversions and clicks.

The ultimate goal of an online brand awareness campaign typically is to drive traffic to your site. Once the visitor clicks through to your site, you have the opportunity to educate and engage via relevant, valuable content. But we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves here.

Your ad campaign will be impacted by the factors listed above, which means you may have to tweak your original goals along the way. For example, if your original goal was simply to create top-of-mind awareness for your brand, you might want to inundate the web with banner ads. You would place ads based more on reach and frequency than on targeting a specific audience. However, if your online marketing budget is limited, you probably would have to rethink such a broad-based approach.

Consistency is key

You may not be able to blanket the web with your banner and search ads, but you can (and should) be consistent in your creative efforts. In doing so, you will build visual recognition with your online audience. Over time, elements such as your color scheme, logo and fonts will instantly resonate with viewers.

The banner ads below are good examples of consistency in advertising. It just so happens the ads are promoting BP, which has had to dig its brand out of the PR hole created by the oil spill back in 2010. And with the release of the "Deepwater Horizon" movie, the BP brand may take a bashing again.

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A brand awareness campaign such as BP's hovers between the worlds of advertising and public relations. Because BP is already a known brand, the overarching goal may be brand awareness, with a campaign devoted specifically to altering the public's perception of the brand.

Note, too, the call to action (CTA) for each of the banner ads. It is not an "in-your-face" CTA like BUY NOW. Instead, the CTAs encourage the viewer to "Learn more" or "Read the Report." In the most simplified sense, brand awareness campaigns are soft sell vs. hard sell.

In fact, your brand awareness campaign could be the precursor to a straight sales campaign. This ties in perfectly with the consumer buying process:

AWARENESS --->  RESEARCH --->  EVALUATION --->  COMMITMENT

Just keep in mind that it most likely will take longer to see results from a brand awareness campaign. Patience and persistence will pay off in the long run.

If you want to learn more about brand strategy and awareness, OMI recommends How To Be The Most Talked About Brand. 

How to get the most bang for your buck

The Google Ad Network is a popular choice for setting up a digital advertising campaign. According to Google AdSense, the most successful banner ad sizes are:

  • 336x280 large rectangle
  • 300x250 medium rectangle
  • 728x90 leaderboard
  • 300x600 half page
  • 320x100 large mobile banner

Whether you're resizing an image within each ad or the ads themselves, this can eat up a lot of valuable time. That's when a tool like the Image Resizer comes in handy. Simply upload your image, plug in the desired width and height in pixels, and you've got yourself a resized image.

The tool also comes in handy when prepping ads and images for social media. That's right, don't overlook advertising on social media sites. These can be particularly effective for brand awareness campaigns. Admittedly, it all can be a quite overwhelming. Here's a helpful guide to ad sizes on social media.

With search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, be careful in your keyword bidding. If you're running more than one campaign at a time, you don't want to bid against yourself. With Google AdWords, you can use the AdWords Editor to avoid duplicate keywords.

As mentioned above, it's important to know what your competition is up to online. This is especially true when it comes to keyword bidding. Your competitor may be bidding on your brand name, and you can return the favor.

If you want to learn more about Social Media and Branding, OMI recommends Brand Advocacy Strategies for Social Media.

Getting them to 'click' with your content

So someone clicked on your ad and ended up on your website; now what? Your first inclination might be to take the visitor to your home page. For best results, however, create a dedicated landing page. Even better, create (and test) several landing pages to see which ones perform best. If you don't have the bandwidth or budget to design multiple landing pages, use an online service such as Unbounce, which provides landing page templates (no HTML coding needed).

The content on the landing page should follow search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. It also should be tailored to complement the banner ad. That way, when the visitor arrives at your page, there is no disconnect. It's a seamless experience. We often think of site design and functionality when we're discussing user experience (UX), but content also can dramatically affect the online experience.

Are we there yet?

How do you know if your brand campaign is a success? Many marketers are leery of brand awareness campaigns because they can be more difficult to measure. But that's the beauty of digital advertising; it's easy to track your campaigns online.

In addition to monitoring your Google and other paid search campaigns, you can use Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Google Trends to track the volume of searches for your brand name.

Be sure to conduct social listening, as social networking sites offer keen insights into how consumers react to your brand (or not). Several social listening platforms, such as Hootsuite, offer both free and paid plans.

Assuming you've integrated an email component into your online campaign (as you should), you also could conduct a survey to gauge brand awareness.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-10-46-02-am

Darcy Grabenstein is a freelance copywriter with more than 20 years experience in print and digital advertising. In the digital world, she has worked extensively with e-commerce and email campaigns. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

 


10 Practical Tools For Writing Outstanding Content

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copywriter, gamer, freelancer, designer, man in headphones with beard at computer

copywriter, content creator, in headphones writing at computer

 

Writing cannot be taught overnight. It requires a lot of effort, knowledge, and dedicated time. Thankfully, the Internet today can provide almost everything we need, writing skills included. Online apps can provide certain guidelines, motivation, proofreading, editing, and many other useful tools to help you craft stellar content. By using them, a novice writer can become much more proficient in relatively short period of time.

However, with the endless number of these apps on the net, it can be cumbersome to find the ones that best suit your needs. So, I've created a list to help you wade through all of your choices, so you can get down to what’s most important - crafting amazing content.  

  1. Bubbl.us

Any writing project regardless of the size and intent requires a certain amount of time dedicated to brainstorming, which helps us come up with ideas about the structure, content, and plot. Bubbl is a great tool to help speed up the brainstorming process. Specifically, the site helps to organize the ideas you have about your project and customize them by using different colors, font, and text size. Other advantage - it's absolutely free!

  1. A-Writer

A-writer is a writing company that offers a wide range of services for the customer from native English speakers with PhDs. Although the primary focus of the site is writing academic works, the experts are capable of providing writing assistance for about every kind of written work, including novels, short stories, and promotional texts. The blog of the site is also a rich source of materials related to improving writing skills.

  1. ProWritingAid

This tool is used by thousands of writers around the world. It allows editing your work in a quick and efficient way by improving  readability and eliminating errors. The motto of the developers at ProWritingAid is to “turn good writing into great writing,” which is exactly what occurs on the website. This editing and proofreading online environment is rich in functions and can be tried for free! Moreover, the site has a blog with a wide variety of how-to articles related to writing.

  1. yWriter5

This site is home to a great tool for a specific group of writers: novelists. According to the site, the tool was developed by Simon Haynes, a skilled computer programmer and writer, who has done a lot of terrific works in both areas (for example, see the science fiction comedy series he wrote). The tool needs to be downloaded and works for Windows PCs only at the moment. It does require an Internet connection and provides the writer with the opportunity to break the work down into parts and keep track of all scenes, including unfinished.

  1. Q10

This is another downloadable software piece that transforms the computer into a powerful work station without any distractions and all kinds of goodies. The user only has to download a small installation file (400kb) and set up it on the Windows PC to begin enjoying the benefits of the program. They include spell check, grammar check, a timer to remind to take a break, word count goal for the day, word choice, automatic save, and many others. Also, it opens the document where the writer left off, which is very convenient. Another advantage of Q10 is support of a number of languages besides English, including Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, and Italian.

  1. Write 2 Lite

If you like to write on the go, this app could be perfect for you. It is compatible with iOS devices and great for about any kind of writing, including note taking, writing texts & markdown editing. Write 3 Lite data can be synchronized across the Apple devices and provides a very user-friendly interface. The app can be a great companion for those who get their ideas visiting places and otherwise being on the go because it does not require to look for pen and paper to make sure the train of thought does not leave. According to the developer, the app also has an Emergency Model that can be accessed only through a special pin to help the user in dangerous situations.

  1. Zen Writer

Another great piece of downloadable software the goals of which include minimization of the distractions and focus the user on the process of writing. All the essential formatting, proofreading, and editing functions are built-in, and they make the process very enjoyable along with the therapeutical music in the background. The screen of the computer becomes a completely distraction-free environment and the app prevents the notifications from distracting you from your writing (these functions are customizable). It is available for $9.90 and compatible with the Windows PC and devices.

  1. ByWord

This is a good and simple tool that allows the users to write the piece on one device and easily share it with others, regardless of the type of the content. It is available for both PC and Mac and also enables to export the work to various file types, including pdf and HTML. The developer proposes using iCloud and Dropbox to store the data without the risk of losing it.

  1. Wordcounter

According to the site of the tool, it ranks the most frequently used words in the text and highlights them to help to make it better. It is completely free and allows achieving amazing tasks, such as removal of small words, count the words in the text, and spot overused words and phrases. Wordcounter can be especially useful for writer working on SEO texts because it tracks to the number of keywords in the content.

  1. TextFixer

Do you often write lIKE tHIS, forgetting to turn the caps lock off? A Sentence Capitalizer is a tool capable of repairing such mistakes in a couple of moments. Forget the last time you had capitalization errors in your texts with this great app that only requires the content to be inserted in its online environment.

Summary

These apps and tools are great for novice and expert writers alike. They carry both essential and advanced functions that significantly increase the speed of writing and make the process enjoyable. Enhance your writing skills in no time with the help of some of these apps. Give them a try and let us know what you think.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-2-19-02-pm

Scott Ragin is an experienced writer and content writing expert at Aussiessay. Scott loves guiding other people through their content marketing practice and shares his ideas as a blogger. Feel free to contact him at Facebook.

 


How To Attract New Consumers (Like, New-New) To Your Brand

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You certainly want to draw new people to your brand. Who doesn’t? But are you bringing in people who are new to your space, or just fighting for existing share?

When it comes to acquiring new customers, the best strategy is a balanced approach across the consumer journey. Companies commonly get stuck perfecting the later stages – i.e., in the intent, purchase and loyalty stages – and fail to attract true net-new prospects into the journey in the first place.

The beginning of the journey is usually left to mass brand awareness efforts with poor targeting. This creates a gap in the journey between brand awareness and purchase consideration. This also wastes a lot of effort on generating awareness with never-to-be-customers, while not gaining consideration from high-value prospects.

One of the more acclaimed strategy books of the 2000s was the book Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, about how to open up a new market space and create new demand.

The authors compare what they call “red oceans” and “blue oceans.” Red oceans are markets where companies fight with little differentiation for the same customers, and therefore have to compete on price. The blue ocean strategy details how to avoid getting caught in red oceans.

When it comes to customer acquisition strategies widely used today by brands, it strikes me that they’re still defaulting to a red ocean strategy.

Brands tend to focus acquisition efforts where competition is the fiercest, and often fail to do true net-new prospecting. For example, brands fight for:

  1. Past Customers: Reactivation campaigns to past purchasers are common, in an attempt to re-engage customers and subscribers who’ve made a purchase in the past but have since gone dormant. This is a useful tactic, but won’t power the start of the consumer journey.
  2. Competitor Customers: Some conquesting efforts are intentional. Some happen by accident due to lack of transparency. For instance, with co-op databases, you may accidentally find yourself conquesting when you thought you were net-new prospecting. When targeting consumers via a data co-op, you provide a list of your current customers and in return you more-or-less get a list of your competitors’ customers.
  3. Intent-based Prospects: These prospects are people who’ve declared a clear intention to make a near-term purchase, based on their behavior. When people provide contact details on an auto website, or ask for a quote from an insurance broker, they’ve made a clear statement about their being in-market or nearly in-market. Intent data is an important factor in calculating net-new prospects, but it’s one piece of a larger data puzzle. With intent-based prospects, once the prospect has registered her name, it’s sold to 3 to 15 brands who are left to win her over on price.

Not sure where to start with Lead Gen? You're not alone. Online Marketing Institute recommends these classes on Demand Gen. These classes make it easy for anyone in the digital space to understand the fundamentals of demand generation.

So why do brands neglect true prospecting efforts?

One reason is, there’s a lot of short-term reward for focusing on the end of the consumer journey and efficiently acquiring low-hanging fruit. Having a high conversion rate from consideration-to-purchase looks and feels great. The problem is the inherently lower volume in this stage in the journey, and even that volume fizzles over time without a strong early-stage acquisition process.

The other reason is status quo. It was the norm to purchase or rent “dumb” prospect lists for acquisition campaigns meant to drive new consumers to your brand. These lists were easily available, but lacked statistically relevant targeting, and mainly resulted in poor campaign performance. Yet, for a long time there wasn’t a better alternative. Some brands invested in manual data science to attempt to better predict future prospect behavior, but this was a time-consuming and costly process. And results varied.

Today, with automated cloud technology, it’s now possible to identify net-new prospects who are new to your business and who are the most likely to love and buy your products. And it can be done more accurately, in less time and with less cost. This is a game changer for the early phases of the consumer journey. Rather than rely on un-targeted brand efforts to people who will never become customers, brands can now spend brand dollars intelligently to reach large prospect pools, specifically those who have a significant chance of becoming a new customer in your space.

In the end, lower-journey strategies are important, but don’t dedicate all your marketing efforts to the zero-sum game. Real net-new prospecting will move you beyond fighting on price and features. Done right, blue ocean prospecting generates higher margins and is by nature a positive-sum sport.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

This article was originally posted on the Reach Analytics Blog.

 


How to Maximize Your Blog and Work Smarter, Not Harder

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How to Maximize Your Blog and Work Smarter, Not Harder

How to Maximize Your Blog and Work Smarter, Not Harder

Reduce, reuse, recycle. You’ve heard the mantra, only now it doesn’t just apply to saving the planet. This mantra can also be applied to marketing, specifically digital marketing. Rather than ramping up content creation, it’s time that digital marketing professionals work smarter, not harder.

Here are a few tips to help you maximize the content on your blog and work smarter.

Build Themes into Your Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar is not merely a holding place for blog topics and content ideas. It’s the ideal place to put down in writing the overall trajectory of your content marketing strategy.

Start by building themes into your editorial calendar. The easiest way to do this is to pick a larger topic for each month and have all the blogs for that particular month address certain aspects of that topic.

For example, an editorial calendar for a corporate recruiting firm may cover resume writing in May, preparing for an interview in June, and negotiating benefits in July. In May, the four blog posts will cover the main things to include in a resume, common resume mistakes, tools for checking grammar in resumes, and unique takes on resumes. Each of those blog posts will roll up to the general topic of resumes for month.

Repurpose Blogs into Downloadable Guides

A successful content marketing strategy does not rely solely on creating blogs. Rather, it incorporates multiple types of content to appeal to a variety of potential clients.

Instead of starting from scratch for each ebook, case study, white paper, or how-to guide you create, look to your blog. You can take content from a blog, especially a popular or well-received blog, and repurpose it into a white paper that can be gated and downloaded from the website. Or if a particular blog discusses what works, use a particular client to demonstrate how those approaches work and create a new client case study.

Turn a Blog into a Visual

Many marketing departments are fully utilizing their awesome designers or design team. Take advantage of their wonderful skills by having them turn a blog or ideas from a few blogs into a visual, like an infographic, tip sheet, or chart. This is one of the easiest ways to repurpose content, mainly because it requires chopping down content to the very basics so that the visuals tell the bulk of the story.

A great opportunity to create a visual content piece is a how-to article. How-to blog posts are the easiest to convert into an infographic or a presentation because a visual can take the place of a 200-word description. For example, if the recruiting firm creates a blog on what to include in a resume, they can work with a designer to turn it into a downloadable visual that a job seeker can reference while drafting his or her own resume (without writing new content!).

Use Analytics to Pick Topics

When topics aren’t resonating with prospects, ditch them. Stop covering topics that prospects and clients don’t care about. Eliminating the topic duds is a great way to streamline your process and focus on what matters to your potential clients.

The only way to know the difference between a dud and a winner when it comes to your blog posts is by reviewing the analytics. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website or blog, take a look at the traffic and track the downloads of your content pieces. We always suggest looking at a couple of months of data to weed out seasonal traffic spurts.

If a particular blog post does well, add more topics to your editorial calendar that address different aspects or takes on that particular topic. Using the recruiting firm again, if they wrote a topic on how to dress for an interview and it got 2x as many views as a topic on how to clean up your social media when job hunting, they should add more topics that discuss dressing the part for an interview.

Not sure where to start with Google Analytics, you're not alone?  Take, Getting started with Google Analytics, to learn to identify your preforming channels, and how to optimize them. 

Promote Your Blog Posts

It’s very rare that a blog post goes viral after sharing it on one social media channel. Don’t produce 20 blog posts hoping to hit on a topic that will have a viral reach. Instead, focus on producing 5 – 10 quality blog posts and spend time promoting them.

First, share them on all your social media channels. If you have multiple blog posts to share, be sure to share each post multiple times (at different times and days of the week). This will enable you to reach a higher portion of your audience and put more eyeballs on your blog posts.

Next, pay to promote your posts. Sponsoring your posts on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest enables you to reach users that aren’t part of your existing audience. Allocating a portion of your budget to promotion enables you to maximize the value of your blog posts. Even a small budget can have a dramatic impact in helping your post reach a brand new (targeted) audience.

Want to learn more about how to get the best visibility for your blog posts?  Take Getting Your Blog Content Shared On Social Media, for practical tips that work really well to get more of your blog content shared.

In an ideal world, you have the bandwidth to create a ton of blog posts, but in the real world, there just isn’t time. By following the tips here, you can maximize the blog posts you are able to create and increase the ROI of each one.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

Jeremy Durant About the Author: Jeremy Durant is Business Principal at Bop Design, a B2B web design and digital marketing firm. Jeremy works closely with businesses in need of a website, marketing and branding strategy, helping them to develop their unique value proposition and ideal customer profile. Jeremy received his BA from Merrimack College and his MBA from California State University, San Marcos.

 


4 Leaks to Plug in Your Lead Generation Strategy

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Stop losing money. Convert more leads. 4 Leaks to Plug in Your Lead Generation Strategy

There are a lot of different visuals that come into play when discussing a lead generation strategy. The lead funnel. The sales pipeline. The marketing workflow.

For whatever minor differences, they all share the metaphor of water flowing through something. For lead generation this is appropriate. A single crack in your funnel or pipeline and your carefully designed system begins to fall apart.

Over the past few years, the amount of content and social media messaging companies are creating has exploded. The main goal of this has been to increase website traffic and draw in more and more leads. In fact, HubSpot found that the top marketing priority in 2014 and 2015 was increasing the number of contacts and leads.

Now marketers are starting to ask an even more important question, what are we doing with those leads? In 2016, the number one marketing priority is converting contacts and leads into customers.

Your funnel/pipeline/workflow are full of leads, but how many of them are coming out the other side as customers? Are there any leaks in your lead generation strategy? Here are four areas to optimize to make sure no qualified lead is falling through the cracks:

  • Lead Capture

All of your inbound marketing works hard to grow an audience on your blog and social channels, but those follower counts don’t mean anything if you aren’t able to capture enough information to move the conversation forward.

This is one of the mistakes marketers make when trying to convert visitors and followers. The key is to only ask for enough information to move the conversation forward. Asking for too much information too early in the lead capture process can scare a potential lead away.

With the amount of marketing messages people are receiving on a daily basis, your audience is already apprehensive to give anyone their valuable contact information. Don’t make it difficult to exchange that information for whatever you are offering in return.

Want to learn more about Lead Capture techniques? These 8 classes from the Online Marketing Institute can help anyone in the digital space learn the fundamentals of demand generation.

Optimize Landing Page Conversions

Once you have an optimized and streamlined way of capturing lead information, avoid the temptation to overcomplicate it with a distracting landing page. Your landing page should clearly convey the value the lead will gain from providing their contact information. It should also be extremely clear on the action you’d like them to take. Unfortunately:

  • 48% of landing pages contain multiple offers. Keep yours simple to increase conversions.
  • Only 16% of landing pages are free of navigation bars. This gives your leads an option to leave your page without converting.
  • Only 48% of marketers build a new landing page for each lead capture campaign. Each landing page should be customized to the specific offer and campaign you are using.

Creating the perfect landing page for your offer can be a major challenge for marketers. By measuring and testing different approaches, you can zero in on a strategy that works for your business.

  • Have a Compelling Offer

If you’ve done your job correctly, your audience sees your company as a thought leader and a source of valuable information in your industry. The lead magnet is your chance to deliver on that promise.

While you may be able to capture your leads information with a great sounding title and an optimized landing page, it won’t do you any good if the magnet itself isn’t a valuable resource. You’ll have your leads information but you’ll have lost their trust. As you create different whitepapers, training videos, email courses and free trials, make sure you are asking whether or not this is content you’d be willing to pay money for.

Unsure of what your audience will find valuable? Using social media can give you insights into your audience’s preferences. By adding your follower’s social activities to create more enhanced lead data you’ll be able to develop much more targeted content.

As Jay Baer says, “the more you know about your customers, the more you can provide to them information that is increasingly useful, relevant, and persuasive.”

  • Start Lead Scoring

According to Gleanster Research, 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. Moving your leads effectively through your pipeline requires a complete understanding of where they are in the buyer’s journey.

This understanding can only come from developing a system for scoring your leads. Despite its importance, 79% of B2B marketers are not engaging in lead scoring.

Rather than giving each lead the same amount of attention and lead nurturing – which means some leads receive more than they should and the more important leads receive less – rate your leads based on activity such as:

  • Subscribing to your blog
  • Following you on social media
  • Opening your email
  • Filling out a form on your site

A lead scoring system allows you to qualify and rank your prospects to engage with them over social and other channels in a much more customized and engaging way.

No matter what you do, you will never convert 100% of the leads that flow through your funnel. However, by creating an automated workflow and carefully analyzing it to ensure there are no major leaks, you can greatly increase your company’s ability to convert.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 9.00.16 AMTeena Thach is Socedo’s social media and marketing specialist. Socedo is a demand generation system that empowers marketers to discover, engage with and qualify prospects through social media to generate revenue at scale.

 

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.