Category Archive for Internet Marketing

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Kajabi – All your Internet Marketing Tools Under One Roof

KajabiSince 2010, this Internet Marketing platform has changed the way John Reese, Andy Jenkins, Frank Kern, Trey Smith and Jeff Walker marketed their biggest products. I think it’s going to change the way EVERYONE markets online.

Kajabi is a hosted platform for marketing, selling and delivering information products online. It provides a platform for hosting content, like videos, audios and text documents, which are delivered using some proven templates, such as the video squeeze page and sales page for marketing the content, and a membership community area for delivering the actual product.

Every possible marketing tool is integrated under one roof so you do not have to work with a website builder, file hosting platform, membership site manager and autoresponders separately. Kajabi makes it easy and seamless so that its analytics feature can keep track of all aspects of your campaign performance.

The proof is in the pudding. Try Kajabi FREE for 14 days.

“AIS Elite” Internet Marketing study course

Chris Cobb has been quietly banking thousands of dollars a day online for the past 10 years. Today, he is an Internet Millionaire making in excess of $10 million.

Imagine if he had shown you the stuff he had known about now, you’d wish you had turned back the clock and cut short years of trial-and-error.

Access his brand new “AIS Elite” Internet Marketing study course and make this your best educational investment this year.

Can you outperform these Inbound Marketing statistics?

Can you outperform these statistics?

The statistics can’t lie. As the marketplace shifts online, Inbound marketing is poised to take over traditional marketing methods in terms of lead generation performance. Consider these numbers:

54% more leads are generated by inbound tactics than traditional paid marketing.

More marketers say inbound delivers cheaper cost per lead than outbound methods.

68% of B2B businesses use landing pages to garner new sales leads. (MarketingSherpa)

Business websites of 401-1000 pages get 6x more leads than those with 51-100 pages.

Content marketing generates 3 times more leads and costs 62% less than traditional.

You can discover more interesting marketing statistics and trends on this page. Be inspired to reach these benchmarks in your own digital marketing activities.

Click the blue bird and share a tweet. Thanks!

How To Transition From Traditional To Inbound Marketing In 7 Steps

How To Transition From Traditional To Inbound Marketing In 7 Steps

The adoption of Inbound Marketing* in Singapore and generally across Asia is not as fast as we had wished. Based on feedback, the biggest challenge business owners face is how putting more emphasis on digital marketing can affect their operations, prospecting effectiveness, sales leads quality and ultimately sales conversion. They do worry about the hard numbers, and we respect that.

On the other hand, old habits die hard too. When once-reliable marketing methods gradually become outmoded and enter a sunset phase, marketing professionals are slow to adapt to changes, and instead of committing to training, decide to “move on in life”, thus resulting in employment turnovers.

Nevertheless, businesses are dictated by an ever-changing marketplace, which consists of highly educated and well-informed consumers who are less likely to give in to emotional purchases, and take more time to deliberate buy-in decisions. Going Inbound is the best way to reach out to these consumers, inform them with your business knowledge and nurture their confidence in your business entity.

Transitioning from traditional marketing to Inbound need not be a sudden process. If your company already has a website, I can safely presume someone in your company is administrating it. This particular administrator will be much needed for his/her skills to continually publish digital content assets to augment online business presence.

Here are 7 steps to take note when preparing to go Inbound:

1) Have a mindset and culture for online expression and sharing: Content is the essential ingredient and driver of Inbound Marketing. Do create content in popular forms like blog posts, articles, ebooks, whitepapers or social media posts so that people who are already interested in your products and services can easily search for you.

2) Transform all your existing offline marketing materials into digital assets and vice versa: Coming up with digital content is as easy as taking what you already have as flyers, pamphlets, handbooks, brochures, direct mail etc. and repackage them into product pages, social media images, infographics, email messages and the types of content mentioned in point 1.

Conversely, when you have original online content, think how you can share it in the real world, such as printing it as a guide to give away at events, repurposing it as a PowerPoint presentation, include it as a link in print, promote it as a print ad etc.

3) Upgrade your existing website structure a) to integrate content publishing platform and b) with clear conversion points: For point A, I’m referring primarily to having a blog. Setting up a blog these days is very easy with the famous 5-minute WordPress installation, or you can create a blogger.com account and link your new blog to your website.

For point B, having succinct conversion points designed into your website means you will know where and when your leads will be elevated in their salescycle stages as determined by their actions, whether it is a simple action of downloading an ebook, using the “Contact Us” form to submit an enquiry, or liking a Facebook post etc.

4) Design an Inbound marketing plan: Digital marketing campaigns require sustained effort and can go on for months. For results to take significant effect, a routine of digital marketing work needs to be carried out daily. If you are not sure where to start, you can search for digital marketing agencies like iSmart Communications to ask for help. Give us a call or e-mail us with your enquiry and we will get the ball rolling as we guide you along.

5) Design a more consultative prospecting call script: Unlike the typical cold sales leads, the leads you accumulate online has known, to an extent, a little more information about your business, who you are, what’s your expertise and how you can help them solve their challenges. They are just beginning to search for solutions. Therefore taking a consultative approach to speaking to them enables you to understand where their starting point is in their buyer’s journey so you can bring them to a close with much less resistance.

6) Set aside budget for Inbound marketing: As soon as you begin to sense a good momentum picking up in your Inbound efforts, it’s time to consider how much budget you can afford to ramp up the work. You may even consider scaling down your traditional marketing activities and transfer the budget from there to Inbound.

7) Invest in a marketing automation software like HubSpot Singapore: Automation enables Inbound marketers to disseminate their content on schedule, so that every sales lead that requests for a particular information will have the same lead nurturing experience no matter which day or date they opt in. Leveraging on automation can free up the marketers’ time so they can spend it on other matters.

These 7 steps are by no means simple. They just provide a broad overview on what it takes to direct more efforts into Inbound marketing. Certainly the devil is in the details, but it is not expensive nor risky to start small. Start by publishing and sharing content online, and take note where your new audience is coming from and how it grows. Talk to them, address their problems and soon you will be nurturing a critical mass of fans and followers. In effect, you are establishing your online business presence and authority the Inbound way.

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

Colour Psychology

Colour Psychology

Does it ever occur to you why headlines are often in bold and red? Just because every copywriter is doing it doesn’t mean you have to follow, but there are meanings behind the use of various colors that accentuate words in a copy.

Black: seriousness, distinctiveness, boldness, power, sophistication, tradition

Blue: authority, dignity, security, faithfulness, heritage, corporate stability, trust

Brown/gold: history, utility, earthiness, richness, tradition, conservative

Gray: somberness, authority, practicality, corporate mentality, trust

Green: tranquility, health, freshness, stability, appetite

Orange: fun, cheeriness, warm exuberance, appetite, speed

Pink: femininity, innocence, softness, health, youth

Purple: sophistication, spirituality, wealth, royalty, youth, mystery

Red: aggressiveness, passion, strength, vitality, fear, speed, appetite, urgency

White: purity, truthfulness, faith, contemporary, refined, wealth

Yellow: youth, positive feelings, sunshine, cowardice, refinement, caution, appetite

Hope today’s post on colour psychology gives you some ideas how to further enhance your marketing message.

Is The Best Place To Put A Call-To-Action Really Above The Fold?

Numerous authorities and experts in blogging commonly recommend placing call-to-action buttons “above the fold” for best results. Originating from the newspaper industry, businesses used this principle in their website design for two major reasons:

1. Slower Internet speeds and computer processing power
2. User awareness of scrolling behaviour on web pages

These factors required businesses to be selective of the content they placed on their web pages to maximise the audience they would receive.

What is the “Fold”?

“The fold” is the space where your web page is viewable to your user without having to scroll down. Heatmap studies indicate visitors spent 80% of their time focusing on the content above the fold. Although website visitors do scroll down the page, viewing time of the page decreased sharply when they went below the fold.

According to best practices, keeping vital information above the fold ensures users see your call-to-action button and quickly understand your page. Anything “below the fold” will only be viewed by 50% of people who visit your page.

Image: Landing page setup according to best practices | Source: The Landing Page Course

These analyses suggest keeping your CTAs “above the fold” would do best.

CTAs Below The Fold

But what if I told you CTAs below the fold can work just as well as those above the fold, if not better?

Marketers have also created successful CTAs that depart from the “above the fold” best practices. In the same heatmap study, people can be motivated to continue reading down a page if:

1. The layout encourages scanning
2. The initially viewable information makes them believe it will be worth their time to scroll.

The AIDA model; or attention, interest, desire and action are four factors your website visitors consider when making a decision to take action as they interact with your professional landing page.

  • Attention: Capturing attention of your visitor with a relevant and punchy headline
  • Interest: Generate interest with smart copy or a well-placed video or visuals
  • Desire: Create desire by using features and benefits to appeal to your visitor”s needs
  • Action: A strong CTA to complete the marketing story the other 3 elements were setting up. To convince your visitor your solution is the best suited to meet their needs

The AIDA format allows your professional landing page to tell a story aided by crisp design, smart copy and clearly indicated navigation to guide visitors to continue reading.

Image: Landing page setup according to AIDA formatting | Source: The Landing Page Course

Benefits of below the fold CTAs

High-speed Internet, touchscreen devices and increased computer processing power have made scrolling become second nature. Therefore, do CTAs really need to be above the page fold?

CTAs below the fold allow you more room to explain complex products offers. Sufficiently addressing visitor”s queries and doubts in your landing page ensures they are excited and ready to click the CTA button when they reach the bottom of the page.

If visitors don’t understand your product or have doubts, they’re not likely keen to buy your product.

Positioning the CTA lower on the page can work better to give prospects time and space to digest the information needed to make an informed decision.

In an A/B testing of two Boston Globe sign up pages; with the control CTA above the fold and the alternative CTA below the fold, testers found no significant differences between the two treatments.

In another example by Content Verve, moving the CTA below the fold increased conversions by 304% (Control) than a CTA above the fold (Treatment A). These results have been replicated by Certified Knowledge.

Source: Instapage

So why is “above the fold” still considered best practice in landing page design?  Below the fold CTAs can perform just as well as CTAs above the fold, if not better.

Ideal CTA Placement Depends on Your Offer Complexity

The below graph by KISSmetrics illustrate the correlation between the complexity of your offer and the best place on your professional landing page to put your CTA.

Source: KISSmetrics

Placing the CTA above the fold works best if the product offer is simple and the prospect does not have to do a lot of thinking to make an informed decision.

Alternatively, CTAs below the fold work better if the product offer is complex. Prospects may have more questions that need to be either explained in your landing page copy or thought over before making an informed decision.

Rushing to convince your prospects can be counterproductive. Asking for a commitment before establishing the value of the offer to your prospect will kill your conversion rates. Ultimately, your conversion rates are influenced by how motivated your prospects are to click your CTA.

Page scrolling is now second nature to consumers but they are also becoming more discerning. Marketers should consider if their CTAs are positioned where they are sufficiently compelling such that prospects are motivated to take action, rather than worrying about placing CTAs above or below the page fold. Thorough A/B testing of your landing page will help to find out what is best for your offer promotion.

This Company Changed One Thing And Got A 620% Increase In Conversion Rates

Let’s have a look at a typical landing page form.

Image Source: Unbounce

Everything looks good. You’ve filled in your personal information and are ready to go…

Until your eyes reach the bottom.

“Submit,” the bright orange button coldly says.

“Hang on, what am I submitting to? It doesn’t say anything and I’m too lazy to dig around for more information.”

Your visitor hesitates and leaves your page, losing you a potential hot lead.

“Submit” implies you didn’t bother to change the default text on your form template.

“Submit” is bland, even intimidating.

Does your business want to be seen as bland or intimidating?

When it comes to professional landing pages, the smallest details can make a huge difference. According to HubSpot Singapore’s analysis of over 40,000 HubSpot customer professional landing pages, call-to-action buttons labelled “submit” performed 3% worse than buttons without a “submit” label.

Image source: HubSpot Singapore

If submit is so bad, what are better words to use?

A subsequent context-less word preference test done with 400 people by HubSpot Singapore revealed people preferred words suggesting less investment of time and effort. “Click Here” and “Go” were the most favoured, whereas words like “Download” and “Register” fared the worst.

Image source: HubSpot Singapore

These words still sound a little generic, don’t they?

Personalisation of your call-to-action to your offer is the best approach.

People generally fear the unknown and want to know why they are being asked to do something. Visitors want to know what they will get in return for giving you their personal information.

So how can your call-to-action button aid this process of converting visitors into sales leads instead of distracting?

Ensure your call-to-actions are clear and answer these 2 concerns: ‘what’ and ‘why’. Clearly communicate the benefits your lead is getting in return when they click on your call-to-action.

On our website, our call-to-action button copy clearly states the benefit you will receive when you click on the button (a free e-book).

In another example, PriceCharting.com observed an astounding 620.9% increase in click-through rates when they changed their call-to-action button copy from a generic ‘Download’ to a clearer and more relevant ‘Price Guide’ (read more of the PriceCharting.com case study here).

Ensure every element of your professional landing page to help communicate how the user benefits from your offer, including your call-to-action. Small tweaks can result in the biggest improvements in conversion rates.

3 Ways You Can Use Social Proof To Generate Sales Leads

As a marketer, you believe in your product. You want to tell everyone how amazing your product or offer is.

But if you were to tell others why your product was amazing, they might think you were either egoistic or have a hidden agenda.

Now what if instead of you telling them how amazing your product is, someone else did? (And you didn’t pay them for it.)

Opinions of others are one of the key influences on a person’s decision-making process. 70% of consumers look at product reviews before making a purchase, and product reviews are 12x more trusted than product descriptions from manufacturers (source: Fast Company).

In short, people are looking for others to tell them what they should do, buy or think.

How do you leverage customers and subscribers who think your product/offer is amazing by turning them into spokespersons for your business?

1. Feature Customer Testimonials

Featuring short stories from happy customers does wonders in generating pre-qualified leads. Place customer quotes beneath your landing pages to persuade undecided visitors. Placing a face to the words will also help boost the credibility of your testimonials.

Stories of how the product turned a customer’s life around or delivered measurable results would make for a persuasive and trustworthy form of social proof for your business.

Image source: e-Commerce

2. Display Number of Subscribers In The Opt-In Box

Are your visitors unsure about you and your brand? Promote the number of subscribers and social shares you have. Approval from large groups of people taps on a visitor’s compulsive concern that one might miss out on an opportunity.

However, this technique is only useful if you already have a sizable following. Pages with fewer subscribers or social shares can be seen as less trustworthy and backfire. In this case, it’s better to leave out numbers till you have more followers.

Source: Marketing Land

3. Featuring Expert Endorsements

Industry experts and thought leaders’ endorsements have significant influence on undecided visitors. If your brand has gotten an endorsement from a well-known and respected person in your industry, make sure you feature it prominently!

Adding a high-quality picture of the endorsing person will help enhance the power of this social proof.

Image source: Unbounce

Effective use of social proof can influence potential customers to choose your brand over your competitors. Positive reviews and endorsements will help to increase your credibility with other prospects, thereby improving both the quantity and quality of the sales leads generated!

5 Major Benefits Of Inbound Marketing

5 Major Benefits Of Inbound Marketing

You may ponder, “Will Inbound Marketing in Asia work for me? How effective it is to my business?” Results will vary on case-by-case basis, but across the board, satisfied practitioners have reported enjoying the following 5 benefits.

Benefit 1: It simplifies and clarifies marketing and sales processes

The end-to-end B2B lead generation, nurturing and qualification process is structured and process-oriented due to customizable, conditional settings within the HubSpot marketing automation software, so that the statistical data (analytics) becomes clear-cut and easily interpreted for decision-making.

Benefit 2: It increases online visibility, credibility and brand awareness

Inbound Marketing has empowered businesses of all sizes to publish value-adding content and to map their content to the appropriate buyer personas so that the right kind of targeted visitors will come to their websites through online search. Overtime, businesses will be viewed as credible experts based on the content they publish.

Benefit 3: It generates quality traffic and B2B sales leads

As businesses publish more content that helps to answer the concerns of prospects, prospects will feel more comfortable and inclined to revisit. Lead nurturing enables businesses to steer prospects through their buyer’s journey towards making a purchase decision, thus leading them down the path towards sales conversion.

Benefit 4: It increases engagement, build long-lasting relationships and bring in new business

Interactive on-site elements and social media have empowered businesses to become pro-active at communicating with visitors and B2B sales leads. Every opportunity to offer insights, tips, suggestions, and answers to prospects’ questions is a great moment for businesses to maintain a top-most presence in the minds of prospects, so prospects know who to look for should problems crop up, and finally, when they decide to make a purchase.

Benefit 5: It is cost-effective

As Inbound marketing is a highly targeted digital marketing process, businesses are able to maximize their marketing budget for every lead generated. In fact, Inbound marketing costs 60% less than traditional marketing for at least the same results achieved, thus it gives a better ROI through greater lead conversions and lower costs.

Inbound Marketing is the future of lead prospecting and sales conversion, and the future is now. With these 5 major benefits in mind, and as certified Inbound marketers, we are confident that we can design or redesign your digital marketing strategies to help you achieve your marketing objectives.

The 5-Step Formula To Successful Inbound Marketing

The 5 Step Formula To Successful Inbound Marketing

1. Create valuable content for all stages of the purchasing cycle

Marketing is like a gear; it is always moving. Think of this while you create your content. You should think of what your target audience needs and what they problems face so that they can benefit from your content. What they need yesterday may not be what they need today, so it is important to keep updating your content and make sure that it is always valuable. Blogging, social media posting, email marketing and video publishing are all great ways to consistently update your online presence and get found in search engines and by your audience.

2. Invite people who need your products and services

It is important to set goals and understand who you are creating content for and why. Focus your content around long-tail keywords and phrases that your customer are likely typing when they research products and services online. The Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a helpful tool that allows you to compare different search volumes of different keywords and phrases so you can gain a better idea on what keywords to optimize.

3. Convert visitors into leads and build the relationship

Conversion is very important in Inbound marketing*. Once someone lands on your page, it is necessary to give them a call-to-action (CTA) so that you can collect their personal information, learn more about them and begin the process of servicing their needs. For example, you can make it clear and obvious that visitors can register for free ebooks. By their registration, you get their contact details which is important for the next step of cultivating the relationship through a dialogue.

4. Transform leads into satisfied customers

Once you have found your potential leads through lead scoring, there are various ways to transform them into customers. Follow-up emails, tailored email marketing, workflows and campaigns are the common ways to do so. A key point is to personalize your messages to them, such as according to their background, interests and needs. You can also use an marketing automation software like HubSpot Singapore to trace your leads to see what kind of messages they are more interested in.

5. Monitor and modify your marketing strategy

The last step is one of the most essential pieces to Inbound marketing. You need to evaluate your results, such as how much you have spent to acquire how many leads and customers. You should keep refining your lead generation strategy to make sure that you are consistently meeting your goals and going in the right direction. In addition, you should rigorously test the effect of different CTA designs, website designs and website content because a little difference can deliver a significant improvement in results.

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

5 Ideas (Plus 7 Actionable Tips) For Lead Generation Success

Singapore and Asian marketers would acknowledge that they can’t do without lead acquisition; it’s their ONE job to get the leads acquainted with their business, nurture the relationship and make it easy and comfortable for prospects to buy from them sometime down the line.

It is worth noting that offline and online lead generation techniques are always evolving. Singapore and Asian businesses have to stay one step ahead of their competitors and this requires them to adopt new lead generation strategies. As a marketing manager, what are the top 5 strategies to bear in mind in 2015?

conversation

1. Sharpen your story by crafting a compelling message

A compelling message is a marketing representative’s most valuable asset. It is a message that says less about the company and offerings and more about the prospect and their needs. One of the most important steps is to begin creating a list of client issues your company has successfully addressed.

The list should include:

a) customer pain points you’ve removed.
b) client problems you’ve solved.
c) opportunities you’ve helped customers capture.
d) actual results you’ve achieved for your clients.

This list is crucial in expanding your company’s efforts to reach out to your potential customers in Singapore and Asia.

From this list, craft a “playbook” of short and sweet talking points you can use within the first few seconds of a conversation, then lead off with what you can do for them. You are most encouraged to draft a conversation or phone call script to get yourself confident at steering the dialogue in the right direction.

subscribe

2. Invite prospects to opt-in online

Following up with prospects after the initial conversation is critical to maintaining the connection and staying on top of their mind. In the first place, marketers would have already determined what outcome they want out of a conversation. A recommendation would be to get prospects to subscribe into a list to access more value-adding information.

Statistical studies have confirmed that the highest rate of conversions emanates from leads that knowingly opted into your communications. This fact implies that lead quality always counts before quantity, making it essential to first identify the core audience that represents the highest potential for success.

personalization

3. Personalize the selling process

Since every customer is an individual, there is no such thing as “one size fits all”. Sales failure results due to 3 main reasons:

a) the sales team attempts to sell the “almost right” product.
b) attempts to begin the sales process start too early.
c) the message falls flat because it does not fit the buyer’s context.

Lead generation needs to match the context of your buyer. It should give the sales team a headstart in identifying the right focus, but the sales team needs to sell effectively.

A seamless flow of information allows that to happen. Marketing teams can tailor every pitch to address the concerns of the individual buyer. Sales teams can coordinate the upsell and new messages to minimize customer pain points. This cycle creates lasting customers and higher conversions. Also, an FAQ list or website section can be developed based on the most common questions asked by potential leads. Not only will this feature engage prospective customers, it also saves time, labor and the marketing budget.

phonecall

4. Focus on generating high-quality leads

61% of B2B marketers stated that the biggest challenge they faced is generating high-quality leads (Source: B2B Technology Marketing Community). There are 7 things you can do to generate high-quality sales leads:

a) Ask for referrals: This is the best lead acquisition method yet. There is nothing like an existing customer knowing someone else who can similarly benefit from your products or services. In this sense, the new leads are already qualified and the word-of-mouth is also a great form of endorsement.

b) Generate targeted online traffic with SEO and SEM: Experienced digital marketers know that intensive and extensive deployment of the right industry keywords in their website content and ads is key to attracting leads based on what words they type to conduct an online search.

By publishing the right content in the right place at the right time, your marketing becomes relevant and helpful to your customers, and is not interruptive. It is the guiding principle of Inbound Marketing*.

c) Seek marketing collaboration: Do some business networking and seek out fellow professionals who are willing to explore a win-win situation in marketing for each other. This helps you extend your reach to new sources of prospects which you would otherwise never have thought possible. One such conducive environment for collaboration opportunities is found in BNI meetings.

d) Organize a seminar, workshop or meet-up event: Meetings that provide opportunities for face-to-face interactions are great platforms to project an impressive image of the business and the people behind it. Then follow-up with these attendees to stay on top of their mind.

e) Telemarketing: This may come as a question mark, but believe it or not, it has the one feature that digital marketing does not have and it is the reason why it endures today: it still provides the human touch. Telemarketing can become a great complementary activity within a larger, integrated marketing campaign.

For example, leads undergoing the lead nurturing process will fill in their contact number into an online form at some point, which marketers can then proceed to call, to learn more about their prospects and ultimately arrange a consultation meeting.

f) Search for possible leads in LinkedIn: Unlike other social networks, LinkedIn has the highest percentage of interconnected business professionals as its main users. Interactions in LinkedIn Groups, mailings and news feed almost always reflect every concerns of business, work, occupation and marketplace issues, so you have every opportunity to project your own expertise and unique selling proposition (USP) through publishing contextual, relevant and helpful content to drive leads and encourage engagement.

g) Provide contact information on every web page: A typical website has a “Contact Us” page for sure but we found that having a call-to-action button, which links to the contact page, on every web page works wonders by increasing click-through, so website visitors become more likely to leave an enquiry.

outsource

5. Make lead generation more effective and cost-efficient through outsourcing

Rather than scale up headcount in your company and face the delays and challenges of hiring and training, you can find outsourced lead generation companies that will set appointments with qualified leads. Do research and make sure that any third party that is representing your brand to future customers matches your quality standards and makes the right first impression.

In addition, web-based content distribution services that have extensive distribution networks will promote your content for a fee. The content is often placed behind a lead generation form, and you will generally pay per lead. You may also be able to sponsor placement in a newsletter that is distributed by a relevant third party with similar customers to yours. These can be tricky to find but if you can find a newsletter publisher with a sympatico audience, you could achieve quick exposure to new prospects.

* Inbound Marketing is a form of digital marketing in Singapore and Asia that involves SEO, social media marketing, blogging and creating landing pages to generate sales leads.

3 Ways Inbound Marketing Is More Effective Than Traditional Marketing

3 Ways Inbound Marketing is More Effective than Traditional Marketing

During an economic downturn, companies naturally look for ways to cut costs. This may mean that less budget would be channeled into marketing, but less marketing budget does not help to improve business. On the contrary, companies are encouraged to invest more into marketing during times of lean economy, yet doing more of the same marketing activities is not going to be effective and productive.

The best solution for B2B marketers is to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn new marketing strategies to keep up with the times. Traditional marketing (TM) is on the way out. Advertising on the TV and in newspapers, outdoor advertising, cold calling, email blasting etc. are not only costly and tedious, recipients of such ads perceive them as ‘interruptive’ too.

On the other hand, Inbound Marketing* (IM) is becoming the the preferred choice for companies looking to reduce their marketing expenses while generating more sales leads and converting them into customers. Organizations using IM strategies are spending 62% less per lead than those companies using TM (source: 2013 State of Inbound Marketing).

Instead of investing into traditional marketing methods that are likely to be met with constant rejection, companies can utilize IM to focus on drawing in their ideal customers at a lower cost. Here are 3 big reasons why IM is better than TM:

1. IM costs less than TM: 3 out of 4 IM channels cost less than any outbound channel. IM strategies work by pulling potential customers in, through the creation of useful content which interests these prospects. For example, social media marketing costs almost nothing to start, but they can draw in a large volume of traffic to websites. Hence, while there is a low investment cost, Inbound Marketing can still pay handsome dividends.

Conversely, TM forces customers to accept the advertisements in an interruptive manner through ‘push’ marketing methods like email or telemarketing. Compared to IM, the relative inefficiency of TM means that companies using TM will have to invest a lot more resources into getting their desired amount of website visitors compared to companies using IM.

2. Better Targeting: 44% of direct mail is never opened. TM methods are also notorious for poorly targeting the audience. This can be an issue for niche businesses. When you do IM, you only deal with people who are already interested in your product. These are your ideal website visitors, as they are more likely to become sales leads. This would mean expenses are not wasted on reaching out to people with no interest in your product.

3. It is an Investment, Not an Ongoing Expense: When you buy pay-per-click advertising, its value is gone as soon as you pay for it. In order to maintain a position at the top of Google’s paid results, you have to keep paying.

However, if you invest into creating quality content and other IM methods such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you will be right up there in the top search results until somebody displaces you. So from a cost perspective, IM is more sustainable than TM.

These are the advantages of Inbound Marketing over Traditional Marketing in this competitive world. Over the years, many organizations have shifted their marketing gear towards going Inbound. In fact, they increased their IM marketing budget to 50% in recent years and are reaping the benefits as 41% can measure considerable Return On Investment (ROI) from IM.

Today, the landscape of industries is rapidly changing and companies need to adapt, and that includes minimizing costs whenever possible. If your company is looking to cut costs, target more effectively and receive greater ROI, it should consider IM as a means to increase its digital presence.

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

5 Essential Features Of An Inbound Marketing Website

5 Essential Features Of An Inbound Marketing Website

In order for B2B digital marketers to effectively promote their businesses and acquire sales leads, their websites must immediately address the needs or challenges of visitors. Inbound Marketing* strategies rely on an interactive relationship between the marketer and his prospects, and it starts with his website. There are 5 features of Inbound Marketing websites that set them apart from other websites.

  1. Value propositions – With large amounts of information being directed at Internet users, they gradually succumb to a shorter attention span. Thus, it is important to grab the attention of website visitors quickly so that they will stay and browse your website. Am emphasis on design aesthetics makes the website visually appealing to its visitors, such as the use of colors, catchy headlines, visual design, etc. For instance, HubSpot has the value proposition of the statement “The #1 Inbound Marketing Platform” to arouse the curiosity of visitors to their website. After all, if the marketer doesn’t care about the website, why should the visitors?
  1. Accessibility – Websites are not just being visited from computers these days. A comScore report says smartphone and tablet usage now accounts for at least 60% of all online traffic. Making your website mobile-friendly encourages your visitors to stay longer on it. A mobile-responsive landing page provides another channel for effective visitor-to-lead conversion and bounce rate reduction.
  1. Social media activity
    Friend us on Facebook.
    Follow us on Twitter.
    Connect with us on LinkedIn.
    Sound familiar? The way Inbound Marketing works is that it functions in a closed loop, where all Inbound marketing platforms are integrated with each other, such as the main landing page, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the blog. Links for each social network should be displayed clearly for the website visitor to see so they find it easy to move from network to network.
  1. Landing pages – Landing pages are where the contact details of a prospect are acquired. Initially, the prospect’s name and email address are sufficient for submission when s/he want to download the free offer, e.g. ebook, white paper etc.. For successive downloads, other contact details should be collected. These are done so that digital marketers can better identify the prospect and his/her keen interest in specific topics and tailor-make their content to better serve the prospect’s needs. As the marketer-prospect relationship develops, the better marketers know their prospects and their problems, the more likely prospects become customers of suitable solutions.
  1. Calls -To-Action (CTA) – The call-to-action (CTA) button or link encourages visitor action, such as “download your FREE ebook” or “access your FREE trial”, therefore it must be designed to look visually appealing yet straightforward to visitors. Here is an often overlooked tip: create a CTA button for your “contact us” page too. Set up a readily accessible channel for your visitors to contact the marketing or sales team with the CTA on as many web pages as possible. This also provides the team staff opportunities to clear prospects’ questions and doubts and help them better understand the products or services on offer.

These 5 essential features are what set Inbound marketing websites apart from their traditional counterparts, not only for attracting more website visitors, but also the ideal kind of visitors that are likely to turn into leads.

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

Marketing Automation: Does it Save Your Time, or Lose Your Customers?

Marketing Automation: Does It Save Your Time, or Lose Your Customers?

Marketing automation is inevitable and would be gladly received by busy marketers since they need to wear multiple hats. But as more Singapore businesses automate their marketing in order to save time, leads and customers get more inundated with information. Is there a tipping point where automation will lower conversion rates and profits?

Frankly speaking and depending on work situations, not even a small team can effectively cope with all of the Inbound Marketing* work that comes with running a business without automation. There are just too many things to do, and it’s necessary to either automate or outsource (or both) to maintain good conditions. Automation is usually the preferred choice, because outsourcing is often more expensive and comes with its own issues.

The problem with marketing automation is that you can seriously estrange customers if something goes wrong. I had a very annoying experience in which I found myself in four or five email funnels simultaneously after buying a subscription and signing up for the blogger’s newsletter. I kept getting the same emails over and over again, in a different order and with a slight time delay. I ended up cancelling my subscription.

On average, for every customer complaint, 26 other unhappy customers are not complaining. Most customers who are dissatisfied do not complain. They just leave.

Then what exactly should I do about it?

In the early stages of your business, it’s a good idea to focus on high-touch marketing, sales, and customer service instead of automating every single thing. It will help you get sales leads much faster than providing run-of-the-mill service, which will pay for itself, given that loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their first purchase.

Here are two ideas for keeping things high-touch without spending all of your time on email:

1. Do Not Automate If You Can Systematize Your Personal Touches

Author and entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau sent a short welcome note to every single newsletter subscriber for the first year of his blog, which amounted to about 10,000 people. Later he said, “These actions (sending the note, then replying to any follow-ups) took a lot of my time but the effort was totally worth it! I built genuine relationships with many of the readers, some of whom are still with me five years later.” I’m not saying that you ought to write a short note to 10,000 people. Do not automate as long as you can systematize your personal touches. Customers—in fact, every one of us—prefer emails for themselves to emails for the general public.

Based on my experience, through the Inbound Marketing software of HubSpot, we can automate personalization of email to every prospect based on the stage of the purchasing cycle that he is in. That saves me a lot of time.

2. You Do Not Need to Automate Everything.

Have you heard about ‘bots’? An Internet bot, also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone. While some find bots annoying ,others opt to use them when planning their social media shares.

If you do FULLY automate your posts (which I don’t recommend), at least keep your eyes on your social media. If someone comments, respond. In addition, you may not have time to read everything, but at the very least skim through the articles. You may find that the headlines do not accurately reflect what the article is actually about. Personally, I hate it when I get an auto DM on Twitter. We just met! I am not going to like your page on Facebook. Replies should be personalized to each recipient, by YOU or the person you hired to do it for you.

It’s important not to look like a bot when you automate. Done properly, social media automation and scheduling can be a thing of beauty.

Conclusion

As mentioned above, you need to keep your marketing and service high-touch, and raise your rates accordingly. Research has shown that 55% of customers would pay more for a better customer experience.

Above all else, make sure that you and your team are treating long-term customers with respect and giving them more attention (and benefits like first access to new products). In the end, it’s more expensive to acquire new customers than retaining existing customers (five times more expensive), so the margin is high enough that you can spend that extra time with existing customers and still be saving money.

In my opinion, the Inbound Marketing software of HubSpot is one of the most effective ways to automate marketing, while retaining the high-touch that all customers expect from you.

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

4 Interesting Ways To Convert An Inbound Marketing Skeptic Into A Believer

How To Convert An Inbound Marketing Skeptic Into A Believer

Skepticism among Singapore marketers and businesses often occurs when they do not know all the facts. In today’s world, with new things surfacing everyday, skeptics are all around. Information and education is the answer as to how to convert a skeptic into a full believer. The challenge is in communicating the facts and examples in a way such that it creates an impact pertaining to the skeptic’s particular doubts.

Here are 4 ways to turn a skeptic into a believer.

1) Skepticism Dissolves As Trust Is Built

We need to break down the natural wall of skepticism that tends to get built up when a new idea or solution is presented. Here are a few actions to help initiate a level of trust:

a) Acknowledge that change and results will not happen overnight: Inbound marketing* will take some time from your team to be implemented effectively and produce results.

b) Admit that change is not going to be easy: Inbound marketing requires involvement from each team member for a defined set of processes and goals. Establishing set responsibilities with the contributing team builds a higher level of accountability.

2) Skeptics Will Ask Pointed Questions

Anticipate and be prepared to answer questions that support your argument related to Inbound Marketing when you are planning to pitch. The following questions will likely to come up at some point of the process:

How does inbound marketing differ from traditional marketing? Traditional marketing is about pushing a message out through certain channels to gain attention. Inbound marketing is about creating valuable content through blogging and premium content concentrating on buyer personas, thus drawing attention in.

How does it give us a competitive advantage? The Internet is the easiest place for a business to build market share. A website that has strong content, backlinks and continues to publish relevant content on a regular basis will establish stronger impression of authority on the subject or niche.

3) Skeptics Will Need Reliable Resources and Facts

Inbound Marketing has proven to be more effective than outbound marketing at both generating leads and driving sales. This statement alone will not convert a skeptic into a believer, but here are a few facts and data sources that will.

An inbound lead costs 61% less than an outbound lead

Companies that blog once a month generate 70% more leads

70% of all links clicked are from organic, not paid

4) Skeptics Will Look for the Bottom Line

Setting realistic expectations with a skeptic is critical. It comes down to team contribution, understanding buyer personas and the challenges with each of them, and the intensity of your team’s approach.

Incorporate inbound tactics into outbound methods of outreach: When sending an email distribution, include a “top of the sales funnel” offer, ebook or white paper.

Add visual calls-to-action on your website: Placing a Call-To-Action (CTA) in every spot on your website that a new visitor may see is critical to capturing important information.

Share valuable content that targets your buyer personas: Understanding your buyer personas is one of the most important factors to creating valuable content. Factors to consider when generating content include aiming to solve a prospects problem, elicit an emotion, or empathize with their needs.

Track and analyze your activities: One way to immediately evaluate success is by reviewing growth in organic traffic and leads. When done right, the statistics that support inbound marketing and the impact it can make on generating leads for your business will turn any skeptic into a believer.

After they’re sold, educate your ex-skeptics with more information on Inbound Marketing and soon, your Inbound Marketing efforts will be up and running.

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

How To Design Your Website The Inbound Marketing Way

How To Design Your Website The Inbound Marketing Way

Inbound Marketing* has brought digital marketing up another level, and the area of website design is also affected. A good website design is instrumental to the establishment of a company’s online presence, and for this reason, let’s look at how Inbound web design compares to traditional website design and how to stay relevant with the latest design techniques.

First, we identify the similarities so we can get them out of the way: both Inbound and outbound-oriented websites should look professional and presentable, search engine-optimized and provide a user-friendly environment. But that’s about it when it comes to similarities.

Here are 4 features that separate an Inbound marketing website apart from an outbound-oriented website:

Content – The first thing you should notice when you browse an Inbound marketing website is the amount of content on the site. It typically several of these items: videos, webinars, blogs, whitepapers, ebooks, infographics, tip guides and podcasts.

An Inbound marketing agency knows that the key to converting website visitors into leads is content. They also know that content helps sites get found through search engines. The more content you have, the higher your site is going to rank on major search engines and the more your visitors are going to share that content on social media, which in turn will also drive rankings and traffic.

Offers – Content for content’s sake is not enough. Professional Inbound marketers know they need content for everyone visiting the site, not just the people ready to buy today. This means taking into consideration your prospect’s buying process when you create content for your Inbound marketing website.

The offer includes no-risk offers for people at the top of your sales funnel, low-risk offers for people in the middle of the funnel and the direct business offer for people at the bottom of the funnel who are ready to buy.

Blogs – Most people know they need a blog on their site, but it’s the Inbound marketing leaders who recognize the strategic importance of an active blog. In short, the more you blog, the more you are going to get found on major search engines, and the more blog posts get shared by your connections and followers on social media. If your blog content is compelling, more people will visit your website. It’s only natural that content demonstrates your expertise, establishes your authority and gets people curious about what you can do to solve their problems and challenges. Blogging is integral to today’s Inbound marketing efforts and without a blog post published 2 or 3 times a week, your website is at a severe disadvantage.

Personalization – The top-performing websites are able to create a highly personalized surfing experience for their visitors. As progressive marketers, we need to consider creating a similar experience. One way to do this is to be smart about our marketing and use Inbound marketing tools to deliver content in context.

This means that when a prospect has downloaded a free report from your site, you want to follow up by offering him/her related pieces of educational content. The only way to know this about your prospect is to use a platform like HubSpot. Modules like customized workflow design, smart call-to-action (CTA) buttons and landing pages that adjust according to past behavior help to personalize a visitor’s website experience.

Take a look at some Inbound Marketing websites and you will quickly see the focus on conversion, content and how they tell stories to engage prospects, turning them from visitors into leads. Additionally, to perfect your website, apply A/B testing to drive more conversions, and also make sure your website incorporates a good font for your readers.

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

10 Reasons Why Your Website Is Pushing Singapore Customers Away (Part 2)

10 Reasons Why Your Website Is Pushing Customers Away (Part 2)

This is the second installment of the blog post on why your website is pushing your customers away. Read on to find out 5 other possible reasons. This is the first part.

6) No Guest Checkout Option

A common problem faced by many is that there is no guest checkout option available, which means people have to create an account and log in every time they want to purchase something. While having them create an account allows you to better keep track of your prospects and cater to their needs, some do not wish to go through the tedious process. Also, after your prospects have created an account, it is just as likely that some will forget their passwords, which leads them to request for password resets. This can make them feel frustrated and result in an increase in drop-offs. Therefore, for the convenience of your customers, consider the option of guest checkouts.

Another problem comes in when there is a long checkout process, and it can get annoying as your shoppers have high expectations of a fast buying process. Your customers prefer to go online because of your store’s convenience and accessibility; they get to avoid queues and purchase whatever they want with just a few clicks.

Make sure you only ask for relevant information that is required to complete the purchase. You may think that by asking a lot of questions, you are able to collect information for future use. The truth is, how much of this information have you been using for the past years? Also include autofill entries whenever it is possible to reduce time taken to check out. For example, when customers provide their ZIP code, your system should be able to generate the entire address.

7) Hidden Costs

Imagine your customer being so excited that he found a shirt costing only US$10. However, by the time they reach the end of the checkout process, it suddenly jumps to US$20, how would they feel?

Unless you have mentioned that there are any additional costs, the term “hidden costs” in a customer’s book includes convenience fees, shipping & handling costs, and taxes. Some of your customers may hence drop out and cancel their orders.

Shipping costs are definitely unavoidable in e-commerce. If you do not provide free shipping, include a built-in shipping cost calculator for your customers to check. You should also be upfront and display all costs related to the purchase clearly to avoid misunderstanding.

Limited Payment Options

Nothing could be worse than setting your mind onto buying something and realising that your preferred mode of payment is not offered by the site.

You delight your customers with whatever you can but do not forget this crucial, final point. All your previous efforts would have gone to waste if your customer is unable to check out and purchase something from you. The only way to solve this is to incorporate as many payment options as you can, and explain it clearly to your customers.

9) Poor Pricing Strategy

The pricing strategy has to be planned well as price is a very influential factor of sales. Your customers can easily conduct an online research for price comparisons. Therefore, the prices of your products need to be competitive and generally follow the prevalent market prices of your industry.

At the same time, you can experiment with different price points to test your market. Sometimes a low price can work against you when it implies that your product is undervalued.

10) Not Being Communicative

Whenever you can, talk to your prospects and customers to get their feedback. When you want to know what your customers will think of your new ideas, ask them. When you want to get suggestions and improvements, ask them. Asking questions enable you to better understand the situation from your customers’ perspectives. It allows you to improve and stay ahead of the game. There is no harm in asking questions, so ask away!

10 Reasons Why Your Website Is Pushing Singapore Customers Away (Part 1)

10 Reasons Why Your Website Is Pushing Customers Away (Part 1)

As e-commerce competition heats up, it becomes apparent that successful websites have fulfilled some minimum criteria for Inbound marketing* and web design elements. If you don’t want your online business to be left in the dust, take note of the following points so you know why you are not converting more customers as you expect.

1) Poor Showcasing of Products & Services

First impression counts. You know how you are sometimes attracted to window displays of retail shops? Your website (especially the home page) is just like your window display for your visitors and customers. You have to make sure that what you are offering is showcased well and nicely, to attract potential customers or retain current customers. Without a good look and feel, you will not be able to sell well even when you have the best products out there. To achieve this, keep your site simple, sharp, easy to navigate and easy on the eyes.

2) Weak Trust Building

When customers visit your site for the first time, you cannot expect them to trust your site at a glance. Hence, the first thing you have to do, like mentioned earlier on, is to make sure your website looks professional. It is important to do so as these customers can easily go back to their search engines and look for another company with similar products or services. Next, include customer reviews and social media widgets (you can also include the number of ‘Likes’ you acquired or the number of followers you have) to let customers know that your company is active on social media platforms.

When it comes to online purchase, it is no secret that there is a high back-out rate when prospects are on the verge of payment (at the checkout stage). It is essential to have a proper payment system and present it properly to them. Customers are extremely careful and sensitive when it comes to payment as they are required to input their personal information. You should partner up with trustmark services like VeriSign, Better Business Bureau (BBB), TRUSTe, etc. and place their logos on your payment page as they can validate your website for good security and business practices.

3) Painful Navigation

Placing information on your website is good, but you have to know how to categorize, store and present the information in a way that visitors will naturally expect. If you have a messy website, your customers or prospective customers would be put off and not bother to work through the navigations to get to what they want.

Keep your site simple and clean. Excessive pop-ups and flashing banners no longer work. Personally, I’d leave the page immediately if I come across such sites. Put the effort into creating logical categories and groups, colour combination and your layout. Also, you could include a search bar on all your web pages.

4) No ‘Live’ Help

One main problem your online customers have is that they do not have a sales assistant to assist them. In physical stores, you have the sales assistant to explain the product or service to you, they answer your questions there and then, and they are able to bring you the items you want. Even if they do not have stocks for the particular product, they are able to find out which other outlet has it and make arrangements from there.

E-commerce sites definitely cannot provide a physical sales assistant for every customer. Sure, most websites already include a “Contact Us” section with contact numbers and email addresses. However, it is difficult to reply all the emails immediately and there may not be a 100% pick-up in calls due to manpower. You should look into offering ‘live’ chat, where customers are able to have their queries answered straightaway. This would position you as credible and warm, and hence your customers have more confidence in working or buying from you.

5) Inventory Issues

After hearing much about your company, your prospect arrives at your website and is eager to order something from you. They are happy to find it on your website, so it should be available. However, just when the transaction is about to be completed, they receive a pop-up or message saying, “Sorry, item is currently unavailable” or “Sorry, item is currently out of stock”. How bad an impression would that be?

Your prospect was so excited to purchase something from you but in the end, became disappointed because of a lack of up-to-date management of your e-commerce system. If it happens more than once, they’ll probably never come back to your site ever again.

The reason why this happens is because your item could be sold out on a different platform, your inventory is not updated, or there are technical errors within your system. You should use technology to your advantage, enabling the systems to be updated and make sure all of them work well together. You could also make use of inventory tracking to create urgency by showing the number of items left for a product, thereby encouraging the customer to buy immediately.

After reading through these 5 mistakes, are you guilty of not fulfilling any of them? Be sure to rectify problems and errors as soon as possible!

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

What Is Marketing Automation?

What Is Marketing Automation?

One of the primary goals of every marketing manager in Singapore is to consistently generate as many sales leads for their organizations as possible. Marketing automation is a dream tool for marketing managers, if executed properly.

Marketing automation Singapore refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments to more effectively market on multiple online channels (such as emails, blogs, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.

By specifying criteria and outcomes for tasks and processes which are then interpreted, stored and executed by software, marketing managers can increase efficiency and reduce human errors.

Originally focused on email marketing automation, marketing automation refers to a broad range of automation and analytic tools for marketing, especially Inbound Marketing Singapore.

The use of a marketing automation platform is to streamline sales and marketing organizations by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions.

Inbound Marketing* in the context of marketing automation combines two major trends in marketing: the move to web-based Inbound Marketing, and the growing utilization of Marketing Automation.

Inbound Marketing attracts prospects to a company’s website through a combination of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing Singapore, then engages them with thought-leadership content, converts them to identified sales leads through the completion of forms, and then nurtures them through a program of drip marketing through email marketing until prospects are determined to be “sales ready”.

Imagine you’re trying to grow a plant. First you need fertile soil ripe for the growth of your plant. Next you need seeds themselves to care for, and last you need water and light in order to nurture those seeds into a lush, blooming plant. It’s not foolproof, but it’s not impossible.

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