Archive for June, 2015

Most Common Mistakes Made in Twitter for Business

Most Common Mistakes Made In Twitter For BusinessSocial media has been a great marketing platform for companies and firms in recent years, one of the most commonly used being Twitter. Companies are striving hard to get more followers, which will in turn increase brand awareness.

With Twitter being such a great tool, all businesses should leverage on its Inbound marketing* capabilities. However, there are some mistakes commonly made while doing this. We’ve compiled them into this blog post so that you and your company can avoid making these same mistakes!

Twitter is so easy to use—you create an account and input all the relevant company details in your bio, upload a decent profile picture and header picture that can tell a story to attract the public’s attention, start tweeting relevant information, and lastly, follow people, who will probably follow you back too.

The reason why companies look to Twitter to enhance their marketing efforts is because each tweet (Twitter status update) has a limit of 140 characters. This keeps the messages short and concise, which results in followers being more likely to read them. Besides, links can be added within the message to the companies’ homepage, and users can include up to 4 pictures for each post.

With all these advantages in mind, you will ask, “If everyone is doing this, what can I do to stand out from the rest?” Then you begin to find out more on tips and tricks to boost your brand awareness. However, are all these suggestions and tips accurate? Will they bring about more leads? Are they good for your business? While there are many things you can do to improve business, there are a few specific things you definitely shouldn’t do.

1. Follow, pause, and unfollow:

How it works:

1) X follows Y on Twitter.

2) Y follows back.

3) X waits for a few days before he/she unfollows Y.

4) X continues doing this to many others just to get a large group of followers.

Why not: Do not put your company at risk or set yourself up for failure by doing such actions. Eventually, these people might not even bother learning more about your business, click on your links, or buy from you. If they have realised that they have been tricked into following you, you can forget about them becoming your leads.

2. Buying followers:

How it works: Buy followers so that you appear to be reliable and well-known.

Why not: You won’t get much benefits from this. Yes, visitors may think that you are dependable and good, but how do you even get such visitors at the beginning when you are just buying followers? These followers that you have bought probably have no interest in what you put up on your page, hence they won’t retweet your tweet, or spread a word.

3. Excessive use of #Hashtags

How it works: Others can find you easily by searching for hashtags.

Why not: Hash-tagging is a great tool to attract more leads. #But #you #cant #hashtag #everything! Hashtags should be used sparingly on important and relevant words only i.e. #inboundmarketing. ‘#everything’ does not even add any value to your tweet. By having a whole sentence of hashtags, your tweet will look messy and visitors will not even bother reading. You only have 140 characters, make it count!

A report from Salesforce has mentioned “Limit hashtags to one or two per Tweet. Our data shows that Tweets with one or two hashtags have 21% higher engagement than those with three or more hashtags. Tweets that use more than two hashtags actually show a 17% drop in engagement.”

More is not always better.

4. Sending auto Direct Messages (DMs)

How it works: Sending mass messages with intentions to start personal conversations to anyone who follows you.

Why not: The message is not personalized, there is no specific information used for each person, and the DM is just generic. Nothing is personal! The user receiving the DM probably knows that it is automated as well. You may even lose followers because of your annoying auto DMs.

5. Only sending Tweets during peak times

How it works: According to SurePayroll, tweets should be sent out on Mondays to Thursdays from 1pm to 3pm as this is the peak time.

Why not: Although this is good information that we could take into consideration when tweeting, it is just a guide. More importantly, you have to understand what time your particular audience is active on Twitter and where they reside; do not forget that there is a time zone difference.

6. Pushing Tweets across other social networks

How it works: Posting the same tweet across all other social networks.

Why not: You should never post your tweets to other networks (Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.). These platforms are all different and have their own set of posting strategies to get the most out of it. Moreover, they do not have the 140 character limit. Take that extra few minutes to publish to each network each time. Don’t waste your resources!

7. Protected Tweets

How it works: Your tweets are protected when your profile is locked.

Why not: There is no point. Once you have locked your profile, your whole idea of marketing through social media has gone to waste. People will not bother to ‘Request to follow’, as it takes too much time and is a hassle to do so, even if it’s just a button. Also, people can’t retweet your tweets, this means you won’t get publicity. After all, you are looking into sharing information online, what are you afraid of?

8. Flooding updates

How it works: You try to provide as much information as you can to your followers.

Why not: It is true that you should regularly update and tweet new information and news for your followers. However, does this mean that you tweet 10 times in an hour? You will definitely grab the attention of your follower the first time round, seeing so many tweets in an hour. However, in a long run, that is certainly not what they want. There will be many other stories and news that they would like to read up on, not just on your company and your company’s products and services. Posting so much at a time will probably annoy them and this may create an adverse effect—they may unfollow you. On the other hand, don’t forget to update at least once a day to keep your followers! Be smart, tweet consistently and regularly.

Once you’ve made sure your Twitter practices are executed properly, you can further improve your online marketing efforts using marketing tools that will enhance your social media presence. Read more about them here.

* Inbound marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, Social Media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.

10 Secrets To Creating Effective Graphs And Charts

10 Secrets To Creating Effective Graphs And ChartsI can’t emphasize enough on how powerful visuals are for bringing across a message, showing data and sharing information. They capture the readers’ attention, deliver messages clearly, and are simple to create. More importantly, readers can mentally retain visuals better than text, and this increases impact.

However, there is always the case of an adverse effect when your data or message cannot be presented clearly because of a wrong use of tools to create your visual content. To avoid confusion, you need a good design, and choose the right type of representation (i.e. correct types of charts and graphs).

Compiled below are some common visualization mistakes that you can avoid while creating graphs and charts to present data and information.

1. Pie chart segments

Pie charts are one of the most commonly used tools to represent data. This chart is good for representing percentages and proportions. However, they are often designed “too much” and become over-complicated. The segments of the chart should be ordered intuitively, and should not include more than 5 segments.

While placing your figures into the pie chart, the largest section should always be at the 12 o’clock, going clockwise. From there, you have 2 options. You can either place the second largest section on the right or left of the biggest section. As for the remaining sections, place them in descending order after the second largest section.

2. Lines of a line chart

You may be thinking that dashed lines and dotted lines can allow readers to easily differentiate the groups. Unfortunately, they can also be distracting. The best method for differentiating line charts are to use solid lines (same width) with different colours for each group.

3. Arrangement of data for bar graphs

Your different groups of data should be presented in a logical and systematic way so as to ensure they are clear and easy to understand. You may choose to place them in an alphabetical order or value.

4. Visibility of data in area charts

You can have a fanciful design, but be very sure that your data is not lost or covered by your design. There is no point in having a beautiful design with an incomplete set of data as what readers’ perceive would be different from what you originally wanted to show. You may use different transparency in the area charts to make sure that all data can be seen and read.

5. Readers doing the work

Make the experience of reading information and data stress-free by including necessary graphic elements for your graph. For example, adding a line indicating the trend to a scatterplot or adding a faint dotted line across the bar graph to illustrate the value.

6. Misrepresentation

You need to check that all representations are accurate, relative and shown to scale. For example, a circle representing a figure of 100 cannot be 3 times the size of one which is representing 50.

7. Colours on a heat map

Certain colours will appear much brighter and more attention-grabbing as compared to other colours. To avoid confusing your reader with your messy representations, use a single colour with different shades to illustrate the difference.

8. Width of bars

Keep the width of your bars and space between your bars consistent as it helps your reader view your data. The space between bars should be ½ of your bar width.

9. Making comparison difficult

Readers should be able to compare values easily with just one glance as that is the whole point of using visuals—easy and effective. Do make sure your data is presented conveniently (side by side) for your readers to compare.

10. Using 3D

They may look really cool and hence some are thrilled to use 3D in their graphs. However, 3D shapes can distort perception and skew data. Does the front or back of the bar represent the value? To avoid misinterpretation, you may want to stick with the clean and flat designs.

On top of using charts and graphs to convey information, you can also use infographics to capture information and make your content easier to share.

4 Tips That Help You Create Better Presentation Slides

4 Tips That Help You Create Better Presentation SlidesLooking at Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs as examples of high standards, it is irrefutable that great presentation skills coupled with slides designed for easy reading can make a great impact on an audience and bring a message across in a most effective and clear manner, therefore a great presentation incorporates equal parts of excellent content, smooth delivery, and a great design.

When it comes to visual design, there are always some common flaws that show up in presentation decks. Read the following 4 tips to creating better presentation slides.

Tip 1: Use consistent colours

Colour is a powerful tool to evoke emotions. The right colour can help motivate readers. Studies show that colour usage can increase interest and improve learning comprehension. While we may use two distinctive colours on the same slide, it can create a dichotomy and upset a clear interpretation on the part of viewers. In that sense, two colours in the same colour range are suggested for use. For example, for two charts appearing on the same slide, you can use one colour in different shades to present the ideas (i.e. dark green, light green). The only time you should use different colours is when you want to show how your contributions are significantly higher than other parties or highlight a significant data point to display on your charts (contrasting purposes).

Tip 2: Use visuals to enhance comprehension

Photographic images or bold, arresting visuals help the audience connect with the slide at a more emotional level. As compelling images can turn a good deck into a great deck, it can also turn a bland textual slide into one that your audience can’t help but pay attention to and remember easily.

Tip 3: Use videos when appropriate

Use videos where appropriate in relation to the content. Video clips promote active cognitive processing, which is the natural way people study. You can play video clips within the presentation file without ever leaving the application. In fact, using a video clip not only illustrates your point better, it also serves as a change of pace thereby increasing the interest of your audience.

Tip 4: Compare data in a clear form

Presenters are usually guilty of including too much data in their charts. There are several methods to display data in graphic form; just remember to keep it simple. In general, tables are good for the comparisons of quantitative data. However, tables can lack impact on a visceral level and display that information in a less dramatic or emotional way. If you want to show how your contributions are significantly higher than two other parties, for example, it would be best to show that in the form of a bar chart. Therefore, try to compare the data in a clear form to allow viewers see the difference at a glance.

If you present often in your work, this article hopefully serves as a reminder and refreshment. For new presenters, use these tips as a guide to improve and perform better for your future presentation sessions.

3 Ways To Become A Successful E-Commerce Site Owner

3 Ways To Become A Successful E-Commerce Site OwnerThere are many business owners who dream of getting high income and profits through their e-commerce sites. E-commerce business enables site owners to earn thousands of dollars per day; however, there are still some site owners earning $10 per day, or even nothing at all.

This leads us to wonder: what is the difference between successful and unsuccessful e-commerce site owners? Let us take a look at 3 key differences.

1. Patience – Successful E-commerce Site Owners Aren’t Focused on Getting Rich Quick

The courses and e-books about selling online and making profits in e-commerce often make success sound exceptionally easy. When a new e-commerce site owner is not met with instant success, or does not make thousands of dollars in the first few months, the site owner can often become discouraged and easily give up.

Successful e-commerce site owners know their website is a business and, like all businesses, will take time and love to grow it. Therefore, be patient.

2. Invest – Successful E-commerce Owners are Willing to Spend Money

New site owners are often reluctant to invest money into key aspects of their business, especially professional website design and marketing. At the very least, new site owners are encouraged to invest in premium e-commerce website platforms and themes, like Magento. Better yet, hire a professional website developer who can walk you through the early stages of developing and marketing your e-commerce business. Our best advice is not to be cheapskate when it comes to your business.

3. Personalisation – Successful E-commerce Owners Understand How to Personalize Their Websites

Despite the fact that 1,000 people who are already interested in what you do are much better prospects than 1,000 people who are not that interested, many site owners continue to market to that second group of 1,000 while letting the first group slip through their fingers. Adding personalization to your website and to your marketing will stop that slippage and hugely increase the number of conversions you get.

Summary

If your e-commerce site is struggling, it is best to compare your own way of approaching your business to what successful e-commerce site owners are doing. It could be the way you spend your time and money that you need to grow your business, or it could be a lack of marketing tactics. Solve these problems and you can definitely meet with success.

Email Marketing: 8 Types Of Email You Should Use

Email Marketing: 8 Types Of Emails You Should Use

In the latest marketing trends, emails have become essential in marketing. While it is often associated with traditional ‘interruptive’ marketing, it is a vital cog in Inbound Marketing* as it lets the inbound marketer reach out to leads who are potentially interested (when they download content from your landing page).

It allows you to send personalized messages in an instant at virtually no cost. But with the majority of all email being spam, it’s becoming increasingly more important to capture people’s attention, lest your email be regarded as spam and sent straight to Trash.

Even if the product you’re promoting is amazing, will the recipient even want to open your email?

The key to a successful email campaign is to offer a variety of emails that contains brilliant content, calls-to-action and list segmentation. Here are the 8 different types of emails you can send to your prospective customers to further foster your relationship.

  1. Events

There are two mediums in which events can take place—online webinars or offline roadshows. Such events are a great marketing tactic to raise awareness while involving your supporters.

Email is a great channel promote events or to update your leads on the latest news, making it easier to market your product as the marketer interacts directly with the prospective customers.

  1. Content offers

Content creation is one of the best ways to expand your audience and keep your audience engaged. Therefore by giving your audience something useful, such as free guides, webinars, videos or resources, your supporters grow.

  1. Product information

People generally do not want to receive these kind of product emails, but most of the companies send it weekly of monthly just to update their customers with the latest products. For each product update, include a large, clear headline with brief descriptions underneath along with images (people like images).

  1. New offers

This email is used to describe and promote your future offers with a call-to-action that links to a targeted landing page made for the specific offer. This type of email can generate more leads to your website.

  1. Follow-ups

When an individual takes an action on your site, such as making a donation, signing up for an event, or downloading an offer, make sure to keep the conversation going with a follow-up emails with a note of confirmation attached to it. Calls-to-action or additional information can be included while following up with your customers.

  1. Social media updates

When there are any new updates created in your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or Blogs, an email can be forwarded to your customers, in order to keep them updated on a topic you know they are interested in.

  1. Surveys

Using emails to invite supporters to participate in a short survey is a great way to learn about their recent experience with your organization. This is a bit difficult task to be accomplished, because of the customer’s busy schedule.

  1. Thank you Emails

Similar to follow-up emails, these emails are more of a courtesy so customers will warm up to your company/brand. It is important to set up an automated thank you email for anyone who fills out a form on your landing pages. These emails are designed to ensure that your organization can show gratitude for the amazing people who took time, effort, and money to involve them in your cause.

With all the types of email communication and tools available, email marketing is highly effective. An ideal email marketing campaign is a segmented processes that touch your customers, sponsors, and partners, backed up with personalized emails that provide them with the right type of information at the right time. For tips on making sure your emails get opened, read this blog post.

* Inbound Marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, Social Media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.

9 Tips For Generating A Customer Through Social Media

9 Tips For Generating A Customer Through Social Media

We’ve previously blogged about how social media helps with marketing efforts. Along with the growing importance of social media in B2B leads generation, Inbound Marketing* has proved to be the most effective marketing tool, according to the report State of Inbound Marketing in 2013. But just how important is social media?

– Social media contributes 14% of marketers’ total pipeline in 2013 and an additional 21% of marketers report that social media has become more important to their company.

Facebook leads social media in lead generation, with 52% of all marketers sourcing a lead from Facebook and 74% saying Facebook is important to their lead generation strategies.

Company blogs and LinkedIn are in the second place, with 43% of marketers generating a customer from each of these respective channels.

Twitter also records strong customer delivery potential, with more than 36% of marketers (source: State of Inbound Marketing in 2013).

When these marketers can generate a customer through social media, why not you?

To be one among those marketers, use these 9 tips to generate a customer through social media.

  • Keep it simple – As long as the content is useful, simple and informative, people won’t mind following a post from your company.
  • Don’t spam – This is one of the biggest no-nos in marketing. Not only could this hurt your brand image but can also hinder your marketing reputation. This includes sending mass event invites and messages to like your brand from your personal emails.
  • Effective responses – Acknowledging customer posts or answering their questions is important when it comes to social media. It takes two hands to clap and for customer-marketer interaction to take place, inbound marketers must make an effort to engage with leads or customers on social networks. In most of the situations, same-day replies are a must, as most users expected quick responses in this digital age.
  • No clustered updates – Avoid making multiple updates within a short time span, as it may be seen in the same light as spam. This could annoy your social media followers and you may lose the long-term attention of your audience.
  • Address by the name – If your are going to send a reply (via email) for the feedback or posting a comment, address the recipient by the name of the company or his personal name. This will build a strong relationship between you and your prospect/customer.
  • Highlight important posts – If your brand has any very important updates; e.g. acquisitions, sales, or features in news articles; you can highlight them in your page’s timeline. This helps promote these updates rather than have them lost in a wall of text.
  • Private messages – People may send you private messages on these social media. You’ll find that most of these messages will be customer service-related, such as enquiries, so make sure to check and reply them as promptly as you can.
  • Be genuine – Nobody wants to have a conversation with a robot. In every interaction you have on social media, be yourself as much as you possibly can. Personalized interactions make the other people feel like you actually value and care about their interests.
  • Customized images – Having personalized images for your cover picture will attract more customers to your website, particularly your landing page. If your website looks bland, the customer will likely not be interested.

Here are few examples of companies who have attained top positions in using social media as a part of their business:

Facebook

  • Amazon loves to engage their followers with interesting questions and visual content that link to relevant products on their website. (HubSpot)
  • Kickstarter keeps its followers engaged with news about new projects and opportunities to invest in. (HubSpot)

Twitter

  • Burger King does a good job of tweeting pretty frequently and actively replying to and interacting with its followers. (HubSpot)
  • Vogue Magazine has a consistent rhythm for their tweets that give its followers a nice stream of content. (HubSpot)

LinkedIn

  • Starbucks feature a number of helpful articles about retail related companies and keeps its followers up to date on how the company is currently progressing. (HubSpot)

YouTube

  • RedBull is a content producer at heart and has been recognized by the digital industry as an innovator for all things content-related. It posts one to three videos per day.

Social media is the face your company shows to the world through the Internet, and it is imperative that the impressions you give are positive to both long-time followers and people that have just recently discovered your social media page.

* Inbound Marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, Social Media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.

How Social Media Helps Inbound Marketing

How Social Media Helps Inbound MarketingWith one-third of the world has already having access to the Internet, social media has become mainstream as global interactions becomes increasingly integrated. Social media is defined as the collection of online communication channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content sharing and collaboration.

Did you catch that? In layman’s terms social media are online networks where people can share information with each other.

Websites and applications dedicated to forums, micro-blogging, social networking and social bookmarking, are among the different types of social media. The most popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Blogs (The Social Media Report, 2012 by Nielsen). To increase the effectiveness of Inbound Marketing*, social media is essential in:

  1. Increasing Inbound leads at a low cost
  2. Expanding reach of leadership content
  3. Engaging with prospects
  4. Better understanding, identifying, and targeting potential buyers
  5. Improving customer service and satisfaction
  6. Enhancing the effectiveness of outbound campaign programs

When it comes to Inbound Marketing success, social media becomes of paramount importance. It is also a powerful money making tool and it has has been proven to increase website visitors, to help convert more leads and to drive more customers.

But there are several things to consider:

– Who to target?

– How to target?

– Which networks are best for your audience?

Here are few things you can do to get closer to fulfilling the above-mentioned criteria.

Facebook/Twitter:

– Promoting your upcoming events and news in Facebook, will attract the customers to participate or share the events.

– Increasing the number of posts in Facebook will keep your customers involved with your products.

– Engaging your fans in Facebook and Twitter with interesting videos, creative content and pleasing invitations will enhance the Inbound marketing.

– The content is the utmost priority in Twitter. Promoting relevant contents and building reputation regularly will create people to follow your company as well as tweet your contents.

LinkedIn

– A group can be created in the LinkedIn to engage the customers or you can join groups that are related to your company. Either way, your engagement, participation and value-adding posts will be easily seen by like-minded LinkedIn users acceptance of your presence will increase.

Blogging

– The blog posts will increase the recognition of the concepts and ideas that are published by your company. Your blogging activity takes your news forward to readers and followers, thereby aligning potential customers’ interest towards your products/services.

Youtube

– Creating a channel and regular uploads of productive and artistic videos will gain the attention of your customers.

In a nutshell, Social media helps Inbound Marketing to:

  • Build relationships
  • Offer quality customer service
  • Expand the reach of your marketing
  • Giving your brand a human persona

* Inbound marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, Social Media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.

What Are Buyer Personas?

What Are Buyer Personas?

In Inbound Marketing*, it is important for your landing page to not just be found by people, but by the right people. By this, I mean the people most likely to become sales leads. Your buyer personas are a personalization of your ideal customers to build your business around.

For example, if you were in charge of marketing for a tour company, you would have to cater to several types of buyer personas such as: adventurous backpackers, vacationing families, newlywed couples, travelling retirees etc. These would be your buyer personas as they would be your most ideal customers you would like to reach out to. How you market your product towards each buyer persona will differ to meet their respective needs.

Identifying and catering to your buyer persona can be done through 3 steps:

1) Interviewing
2) Profiling
3) Marketing

Interviewing

If you have identified certain types of people as your buyer personas, select a large enough sample size for you to interview. Ask your buyers a series of broad, open-ended questions so that you can get a better idea of who they are, so that you can better market your product to them.

Profiling

Once you have gathered enough information on each buyer type, create a profile for it by personifying the collective attributes of the particular type of buyers. This includes giving them a name and an image. For instance, if you are marketing for a tour company, you may have a profile known as ‘Family Man Fred’ for the man travelling with his family. This helps the marketer to have a clearer direction of whom they are marketing the product to, This can be very useful in Inbound Marketing, which revolves around the consumer.

Marketing

Now that you have identified your buyer personas, you are able to better understand your products from the buyers’ perspective, as you are aware of their needs and interests. Before undergoing a campaign, ask yourself what your particular buyer persona would think about it, and evaluate it from there. The profiling of buyers allows marketing strategies to be better planned around these people.

Inbound marketing is planned around the buyers themselves, and has a greater level of interaction between the marketers and the people they are marketing to as compared to traditional, outbound marketing, which merely talks about products. Hence, buyer personas are a vital component of inbound marketing campaigns.

* Inbound marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, Social Media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.

6 Must-Haves On Your Calls-to-Action

6 Must-Haves On Your Call-to-Actions

Calls-to-action (CTAs) are essential parts of Inbound Marketing*. It is typically an image or text that prompts visitors to take action, such as: subscribing to a newsletter, viewing a webinar, or requesting a product demo.

Effective CTAs will result in more leads and a greater conversion rate for your landing pages. You can find CTAs on emails or social media as Inbound Marketing functions on multiple platforms. However, CTAs are generally found on landing pages where you can collect visitors’ contact information in exchange for a valuable marketing offer. Hence, Inbound Marketing revolves around the landing pages.

WHAT: Hyperlinked text or button that promotes an offer in exchange for contact information, usually a form.

WHY: The goal of a call-to-action is to encourage visitor action and to obtain information about the visitor, converting them into leads.

Features your CTA must include are offers for content, e-mail newsletter signups, demos, interactive tools and the last but not the least, a form to collect contact information. There are several general guidelines for making good CTAs for your website.

  1. Making CTAs specific, tout benefits and use keywords: Don’t be vague! Using concise language and getting to the point will make them more likely to spend time reading what you have to say. For instance, to promote an Inbound Marketing eBook: your CTA can have the text “Get more leads to your website”, which lets the visitor know about the benefits of your using product. Keywords are also useful in getting the attention of the website visitor, as they may be looking out for specific terms. The use of keywords also helps to reinforce the impression the visitor has that you know your stuff.
  2. Buttons should stand out in the website: In order to stand out from the rest of the text on your landing page, the CTAs should be visibly bigger and of contrasting colours. The CTA should also be located in a distinct place on the webpage, such as with whitespace around it. If the visitor has to struggle to find the CTA, then it defeats the purpose of having one, which brings us to the next point.
  3. User-friendliness: Once the visitor clicks your CTA, you’ll want to be sure they can easily navigate everything from start to finish. By being user-friendly and easy to use, including the accommodation of mobile devices, it helps to ensure that website visitors follow through and become converted to leads.
  4. Positioning: You can insert a CTA at the end of an article, within the content, right sidebar and top banner. It is also important for you to have it on every page of your website, in emails, presentations, videos, social media messages, and in any other paid media that your company has bought. This is to ensure that the visitor stays in the closed loop of your various marketing platforms.
  5. Include CTAs for Different Stages of the Buyer Cycle: Be versatile. Adapt the CTA according to the different stages of the Buyer Cycle. Depending on the level of interest and behavior displayed by the visitor or lead, change the CTA to meet their various needs and expectations. You may use ‘lead scoring’ to determine the level of interest of customer.
  6. Follow up from the CTAs: Once you have received their contact information, you must stay in touch with your leads in order to maintain a healthy relationship, such as replying to messages or enquiries by them, or sending them email updates.

Use this checklist to make sure your CTAs have everything they need!

  • Do your headlines and first few sentences grab the attention of your visitor to continue reading?
  • Is your CTA visually appealing?
  • Has your CTA been positioned in such a way that it is noticeable but not disruptive?
  • Have you linked your CTAs with the contact information form?
  • Are you tracking your CTAs?

Here are 6 A/B tests you can carry out to optimise your CTAs for conversion.

* Inbound marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, social media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.

6 Features Your Landing Page Should Have

6 Features Your Landing Page Should HaveA landing page is a single web page that people are directed to after clicking on a search engine result. Its general aim is to convert visitors into leads and it is typically used in Inbound Marketing*. It is the first thing that a website visitor will see and so it needs to be direct in getting its message across, but at the same time, appealing enough that the visitor would want to explore the website.

There are several particular features that a landing page should have in order to achieve its purpose—more conversions.

1. Clarity

Using clear expressions and headlines allow visitors to understand the purpose of the landing page easily and allow them to have a clearer idea of the product that you are promoting.

2. Focus

The entire landing page should have a central theme which it does not deviate from, such as not to confuse the website visitor and allows the marketer to focus on getting a particular message across. There should also be a single Call-To-Action, which encourages the visitor to take up the offer of content in exchange of contact information (and thus becoming leads.) Make your Call-To-Action stand out by using conversion design rules such as whitespace, contrasting colors and directional cues.

3. Rewarding

Nobody gives away their personal details for nothing in return, that’s begging to be spammed. As mentioned above, this contact information is usually exchanged with something of value to the website visitor, such as e-books or whitepapers. It is at the landing page that this trade takes place, and thus where the contact information is acquired. This information can be stored using cookies so that repeated visitors can receive personalized tags and smart fields. Also, this serves the purpose to obtain more information about the lead by asking for other details rather than just names and email addresses.

4. Logos

Branding is important when it comes to receiving the trust of website visitors – after all they’re giving you their personal information. Your company logo reassures them that you are legitimate and not out to scam them.

5. Integrated Networks

Links to your social media platforms indicate that you are connected to other networks which the website visitor can go to if they are interested to find out more about the product. This could be, for instance, a link to your blog promoting your product.

6. Promote

Appealing features of the product along with testimonials, if any, will give the leads a better perception about the product, which in turn helps in the process of turning them into consumers.

Kudos! You now have a presentable landing page. But even having the greatest landing page in the world would mean nothing without the website traffic. Hence, marketers have several methods of pulling in traffic to their websites.

  • In Search Engine Marketing (SEM), websites pay search engines such as Google to display their landing pages on the first page of search results corresponding to particular keywords. Similarly, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) achieves the same effect.
  • Traffic is sent from a banner ad or sponsorship graphic to a landing page specifically designed to address the buyer persona.
  • Traffic is sent from a link in an email promoting the product.
  • Traffic is sent from a blog post or sidebar link (the process of inbound marketing works in a closed loop) to the landing page.
  • If the page you’re currently on is a landing page designed to attract website visitors into the links of networks.

Through these methods your landing page can effectively convert visitors to leads, which in turn can become customers.

When you’ve got your landing page all set up, you can also read How to Get More Leads By Solving Landing Page Problems.

* Inbound marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, social media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.

Will Companies Using Only Traditional Marketing Fall Behind?

Will Companies Using Only Traditional Marketing Fall Behind?The companies in this world of technology are showing drastic changes in remodeling their marketing strategies. Before the Internet was born in the 1990s, outbound marketing, or traditional marketing, was holding its flags high in promoting the products to the customers, but the Internet has brought in remarkable changes to the marketing landscape with Inbound Marketing* becoming popular among the companies. At present, according to research done by HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing, 60% of companies have adopted some element of the Inbound Marketing methodology into their overall strategy (read more about the difference between traditional marketing and Inbound Marketing).

Companies are taking wide steps in analyzing the needs and wants of the population to build a stronger relationship. Besides this, companies are adopting a pull rather than push marketing strategy to promote their products in a better way possible to reach the targeted customers in a short period of time. These are the things that can be done by Inbound Marketing and not Traditional Marketing.

Not to say that Traditional Marketing is dead. Evidently, we can still see outbound marketing being used around us, and companies are using it for various reasons as listed below.

  1. Quick Return on Investment (ROI) and test of nurture sequence
  2. Low ongoing content creation costs/time
  3. Potentially greater control over targeting
  4. Direct leads to landing pages of your choice
  5. Reaches a large number of people
  6. Familiarity of the media: Television, Newspaper, etc.

Television and print advertisements are everywhere and are constantly being seen. They have been around for a long time and people are familiar with them compared to some of the newer and more technologically reliant ways of consuming inbound content. A huge chunk of potential customers may not be looking at blogs or e-books for answers and could be relying on a strong outbound message to alert them to your product.

But as consumers of the 21st century continue to customize their information channels, it becomes more feasible to combine outbound with Inbound for a better marketing strategy. For example, emailing is usually considered an outbound strategy, but if the email were to contain relevant content that answered a customer’s questions, it would be a good blend of the two. A social media strategy using something like promotional tweets that linked to the content on your site could also be a good strategy that integrates the two strategies. The important thing to remember is that it needs to provide value to the customer in some way. Make sure that the content is relevant and useful, just as your inbound strategy is and they will work well together. If you don’t have an inbound strategy in place however, now is a great time to do so.

Instead carrying the perception that Inbound Marketing and Traditional Marketing cannot coexist, look at them as complements helping each other reach a common goal.

* Inbound marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, social media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.

Inbound Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

More people are getting on the Inbound Marketing bandwagon, because it is simple, relatively inexpensive and more effective. We’ve already roughly established what inbound marketing is in a nutshell and how it is well suited for niche or B2B businesses. But let’s take a more in-depth look into the qualitative contrasts between Inbound Marketing and Traditional Marketing.

Inbound Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

Traditional ‘Push’ Marketing

86% of people skip TV advertisements and 44% of direct mail is never opened. Traditional Marketing, or Outbound Marketing, is the typical method of marketing to consumers, but its recipients can perceive it as interruptive, which is counter-productive in terms of acquiring potential leads.

People are using more creative ways to block out these interruptions such as AdBlocker or spam filtering. Traditional Marketing’s spray-and-pray approach to finding customers has been regarded as costly and inefficient, which has resulted in the decline of traditional marketing methods, which have to “buy, beg or bug their way in.” But how exactly does Inbound Marketing compare with Traditional Marketing?

Inbound ‘Pull’ Marketing

While Traditional Marketing focuses on finding its customers, Inbound Marketing focuses on getting found by its “ideal” customers. This is more effective and hence more savvy companies are utilizing Inbound Marketing to their advantage, thus the average budget spent on company blogs and social media has nearly doubled in the last 2 years. For instance, U.S. inbound marketers spending more than $25K per year save an average of 13% in overall costs compared to traditional marketers. Furthermore, 3 out of 4 inbound marketing channels cost less than any outbound channel.

Verdict – Cost: Winner = Inbound Marketing

Not only does Inbound Marketing cost less, it gives the marketer’s website a stronger digital presence than Traditional Marketing as communication is two-way interactive, while Traditional marketing mainly consists of one-way communication that pushes products onto customers.

Verdict – Converting leads to customers: Winner = Inbound Marketing

While marketers using Traditional Marketing rarely seek to entertain or educate prospects, the Inbound Marketer forms a rapport with its prospects built on trust and the provision of useful content. Using tools such as cookies, the Inbound Marketer is aware of the behavior of its prospects and can adjust its marketing strategy to best suit the needs of the prospect. Conversely, as there is little interaction between the marketer and the customer in Traditional Marketing, the traditional marketer does not have the opportunity to continuously cater to the customer’s interests once the transaction is complete.

Verdict – Customer satisfaction: Winner = Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing isn’t perfect, carrying it out requires a certain set of skills such as IT and knowledge of social media, and hence an inbound marketing campaign may not be successful without acquiring these skills. From being able to use Search Engine Optimization to knowing how to utilize social media to your advantage, Inbound Marketing is a different landscape from Traditional Marketing altogether, and the transition for traditional marketers into inbound marketing may not be smooth sailing.

Verdict – Expertise requirement: Winner = Traditional Marketing

If you are interested in Inbound Marketing, even if you think you lack the technical expertise, feel free to download the e-book on the right sidebar to get started!

Check out our other post: Will Companies Using Only Traditional Marketing Fall Behind?

Inbound Marketing: In A Nutshell

Inbound Marketing: In A NutshellGone are the days when you want to advertise your products, you try to reach as many people as possible to find potential customers.

We live in the 21st century. We have jet planes, stem cell research and most importantly, for us marketers, we have the Google search engine.

Say hypothetically, I would like to sell my product, an industrial-grade photocopier. This would provide high performance, but would be very expensive. Most probably, only large offices would need it.

Should I put up advertisements on buses to promote my photocopier?

What about cold calling numbers right out of the Yellow Pages to see if they’re interested?

Or broadcasting TV commercials for my photocopier during half time of the weekend’s football matches?

Probably not. It would not be cost-efficient. What are the odds of finding prospects looking for such large-sized equipment among so many consumers? It would be like finding a needle in a haystack.

The above mentioned marketing methods are known as outbound marketing, which is perfectly fine for consumer goods like soft drinks or food products, but not so much for a product like my photocopier with such a niche market.

Here’s where Google comes in.

If you were looking for an industrial-grade photocopier, where would you look? That’s right, you’d Google it. The odds are that you’d be led to a website selling the product that you want, and that’s how a buyer-seller relationship starts. This is Inbound Marketing*. It starts with the buyer. It has been proven to be extremely effective for generating leads for marketing large-ticket items for businesses in the U.S.

* Inbound marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, Social Media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads. Closed-loop, content-based software platforms, such as HubSpot, are totally integrated. Visitors can go from information searching to being converted into customers without leaving the marketing platform. Consult us for a FREE website assessment so we can tell you what it takes to make your website more ‘inbound’!

Also read our other posts like Inbound Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing and 4 Simple Steps of Inbound Marketing