Tag Archive for landing pages

Measure Your Marketing Success

In the world of marketing, there is always room for improvement. Tracking and measuring your marketing practices will give you a clear picture of what you should and should not continue to do in the future. But without data, you have no idea where to start. Here are a few tools that will enable you to collect and analyze your marketing results.

Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics

One of the first tools you can leverage is Google Analytics. You’ll be able to track everything from unique visitors to time-on-site to pay-per-click ad success. Plus, you’ll be able to tell which referral sites (including your own landing pages) are getting the most results. This data will help you analyze campaign strategy and budget requirements.

E-Mail Tracking

Another area in which you’ll want to track data is e-mail marketing. How many people open your e-mails? Which subject lines work the best? Which e-mails convert to sales? This should all be tracked using an internal tracking feature that is available in most autoresponder services. A recommended external tracking service is Linktrack. As you track and tweak your e-mail practices, you’ll see your conversion skyrocket.

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.

8 Feasible Instagram Marketing Strategies For You To Get Started

Photo and video sharing is no longer a utilitarian feature of social networks, as you can now do it with style. Instagram, with 300 million monthly active users, is the leader of the pack in this regard. Not only can you post your media on the Instagram feed, you can sync your feed with other popular social networks like Twitter and Facebook for better exposure or publicity.

Photos and videos appeal to the viewers’ emotions in a way that text is unable to do. From a business perspective, visual media can reveal a personal side of your company, brand or business in a way that allows consumers to relate to your brand’s message, and with Instagram, you don’t have to invade their email inbox and jostle for their attention with other email marketers. You can engage customers in a fun way through contests and the use of hashtags. If you have not gotten a hang of how Instagram Marketing works, here are 8 feasible strategies for you to get started.

  1. Share Staff Photos – Sharing staff photos and company events give followers an idea what is happening behind the scenes of the company. It also gives you a chance to introduce your talented staff (what they do that makes the wonderful customer experience possible) to the general public. It puts human faces on a brand that your followers would otherwise be unable to connect with. In a way, this humanizes your brand and makes it more accessible to your followers. When you’re promoting upcoming events, send those Instagram views to an RSVP landing page for them to reserve their spot via email.

8 Feasible Instagram Marketing Strategies For You To Get Started
Starbucks posts loads of events and customer-centric images on Instagram.

  1. Showcase Your CSR Initiatives – Another way to humanize your brand is to take pictures of your company engaging in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Corporate Social Responsibility is one of the key strategic pillars that reflect the human side of modern businesses. Does your company volunteer at an elderly center every year? Post photos of your Chief Marketing Office serving food to the residents. Let the world see your humanity and consumers can connect and develop a favorable impression about you. If you are consistent with your CSR activities then it shouldn’t take long to draw interest and even support and loyalty from impressed audience.
  1. Show off Your Products – Apart from sharing photos of staff members and CSR events, you should definitely use Instagram as a platform for showing off your actual products. After all, the whole reason you’re using Instagram in the first place is to get qualified sales leads. You will be doing yourself and your company a great disservice if you don’t use Instagram marketing to create and share interesting and educational pictures about your business.
  1. Hold Giveaways/Contests – Hold special Instagram-only giveaways and contests to boost engagement. Make the user experience interactive. The Ice Bucket Challenge is a terrific example of an event that exponentially got more people involved with a do-able challenge. For some participants, throwing ice water over their heads has nothing to do with contributing to the ALS cause, but the campaign was successful because of its overwhelming user involvement and engagement.Likewise, you can promote your contest/giveaway/challenge on other social platforms as well; just make liking or commenting on a photo as a contest requirement. This tactic will not only increase engagement, it will also build upon your target audience and keep them coming back for more. If you attach your brand to a fun and engaging contest with a potential prize, you’re already helping your brand management.
  1. Give Email-Gated Coupons – Everyone likes a good deal regardless of what social network they source it from. When you are promoting your email-gated coupons on Instagram, include an authentic image, preferably of a real customer enjoying the specified product.
  1. Connect With Businesses Using Geo-Tags – Another way to promote your business or event through Instagram is to tag images of your business. This makes it easier for businesses in your locality to find you when they need your products or services, promote engagement with your locale, and drive more traffic to your email-gated events and landing pages.
  1. Personalize Your Hashtags – The best and most effective marketing strategy in Instagram is to promote your brand or business using a hashtag (#). Don’t underestimate the power of personalized Instagram hashtags. They’re there to make your brand or profile more visible through search. It doesn’t matter whether you are using your business name or a targeted keyword; a hashtag gives you an opportunity to interact and monitor prospects and visitors who interact with your business on given issues. Do not use arbitrary phrases just because they are humorous or entertaining. Unless they are built around searchable keywords, they will not help your lead generation strategy at all. If used properly, I believe that a hashtag can be a great PR tool for Instagram marketing.
  1. Tracking Your ROI – B2B marketers and savvy business people are always keen to track and quantify the returns on their Instagram marketing efforts. While ROI is a major concern, you should remember that your Instagram promotional efforts are more than numbers. To track your efforts better, you should use Instagram Analytics Tools which gives you an overview of your marketing strengths, weak points, and level of engagement.

By using high-quality visuals that truly help to attract and connect with your audience, Instagram Marketing has the potential to raise your profile, boost your B2B lead generation capabilities, increase engagement with your target audience and customers, increase overall visibility and immensely boost your brand value.

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 Things You Should Know About Paid Search Marketing

Paid search marketing is a great strategy to direct targeted traffic to your website and grow business, but it can become expensive too. How do you guarantee the most profits out of your paid ads? There are 5 significant things we can do about it.

  1. Long-Tail Keywords

The main thing you need to learn about search marketing is how keywords work. Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a great resource for discovering keywords in your industry.

Broad keywords are highly recognizable keywords that attract large volumes of search traffic, but they are too expensive and not effective for beating the competition.

You want words that your customers use to look for you without fail, so you need something called “long-tail keywords”. As they are longer in phrase and more specific, they may not be relevant to your competitors if you and your competitors deal in different business areas. Long-tail keywords can make up for quality search-driven traffic.

For example, the term “social media marketing” is broad or too generic. The much less common (as a result, less popular) phrase “social media marketing for small business” receives few searches, but better exemplifies a long-tail keyword or phrase. You may even further and try something like “the best B2B LinkedIn marketing strategies for small business”.

Correspondingly, going narrower on long-tail keywords allows you to spend lesser of pay-per-click marketing because your business rivals will not be thinking like you, hence less competition for keywords. Your ROI will increase too.

  1. Know the Industry

There are a lot of places to put ads, with each website having its own pros and cons. You should understand some of the major types of paid advertising and decide to use which types according to your goal.

a) Display Ads or Banner Ads – Banner ads stand out so noticeably on the page. They are very common and come in a variety of sizes. Other marketers have long said that banner ads are ineffective because they are too obvious as advertisements, but they tend to target customers who are not actively looking for something new. Display ads can be purchased using a pay-per-click or cost-per-thousand-impressions model or they can be displayed for a certain length of time.

b) Text Ads –These ads generally are less expensive than display ads and target customers that actually are looking for something specific. They can be very effective but depend heavily on good keyword research and A/B testing.

Here are a few of the places you should try listing your ads, though there certainly are many others:

a) Google AdWords – Google AdWords are an apparent choice for many businesses. They offer display and text ads in association with highly targeted keywords. Bonus Tip: Your Google ads will generate a better ROI the longer you use. Google will rewards long-term customers with better “quality scores“.

b) Bing or Yahoo! – Bing and Yahoo both offer alternative ad platforms that work similarly to Google’s. They combine display and text ads with targeted search terms. Some brands find that, while these options bring less traffic, the overall ROI is a bit better.

c) Facebook or LinkedIn. – Social media marketing has grown rapidly in popularity over the last few years. These ads combine text and display elements and are targeted based on user preferences, demographics, and location.

In the beginning, it is essential to try different options and use hard data to make final decisions about where you want to put your money. Hard data will tell you what gives you the best return. Good tracking capabilities will make this possible.

  1. Tracking

The wonderful thing about online marketing is that you get the latest metrics tools and technology to track everything.

The free Google Analytics is a must when it comes to measuring online ad performance.

Once you have it set up, you should become very familiar with Google Analytics Custom Campaigns. These options allow you to create a customized URL for each ad that will help you see overall performance for all of your ads. Using Google Analytics in this way will give you a single dashboard for comparing all of your advertising campaigns.

  1. Create a Landing Page

It is important to send incoming visitors to a unique page (called a landing page) on your website, rather than your home page. There are 3 very good reasons for using this strategy:

  1. Landing pages allow you to customize your message for incoming visitors. This means that you can continue the message that you started with your ads, which creates a cohesive experience.
  2. These custom landing pages allow you to push visitors toward specific actions, such as downloading a free ebook.
  3. Landing pages make tracking your visits very easy.

You can gain a lot of information about how to reach out and sell to your new visitors. In some cases, you can create a single landing page for an ad campaign, or even for each keyword that you purchase. Landing page conversion rates will inform you how effective your ads are.

Every page you send to your prospects should have a clear call-to-action. A bad CTA confuses them and wastes your money. It’s the difference between a sale and wasted money.

You would like to decide what the “number one” desired outcome for each page is before designing a landing page.

Lastly, you may have launched your page, but you aren’t done yet. Small adjustments can make a huge difference in your overall conversion rate.

A/B testing is being scientific about testing which methods or elements work best. When you go about A/B testing, it is important that you make only a single, testable, change each time. For example, you could test the effectiveness of your page’s headline or button placement, but not both at the same time.

By testing a single change, you will be able to see conclusive results about what works best. A/B testing is an ongoing process, so don’t stop. Keep testing and modifying your page.

  1. Review Results Regularly

Whatever you do, don’t check your results every day. It is best to wait so that your analytics have time to accumulate accurate trends and information. Then determine a set time period for reviewing your statistics and making changes. It might be monthly or weekly. Checking monthly is good for picking up broad shifts.

Also, you might consider using spreadsheets to track your statistics. It’s easier to pick up on trends and understand what you’re seeing when you dig into your own analytics to pull out the numbers for your spreadsheet.

Be prepared to kill keywords that are under-performing. Remember, conversion rates are your most important statistics, not clicks. Clicks just waste money unless they are doing something purposeful for you. As mentioned, the incentive with Google AdWords is the longer you run your ads, the better your rates and quality score will become. This will be true particularly if you rely heavily on good A/B testing and are constantly refining your ad purchase.

3 Things You Must Do Consistently To Build A Solid LinkedIn Presence

A few days ago, the folks in iSmart had an internal discussion about social media and in particular, LinkedIn is killing some major local jobs portal. This is quite a surprise for some of us because we normally look at LinkedIn from a marketing perspective. Quite clearly, LinkedIn is making a dent in its competitors’ market share. It is also a great platform for B2B marketing because of its original design and purpose. Below are 3 major activities you must follow through to establish a solid LinkedIn presence.

Create And Optimize Your Account

The first thing to do is create your account and your profile. You should ask yourself 3 questions:

1. What is my goal?
2. Who is my audience?
3. How would my profile lead my audience to engage me and start a conversation?

You should create your profile according to your answers above and make it compelling. For example, if you are good at doing Inbound marketing*, mention the achievements and highlights of your career and ask some typical leading questions about your customers’ problems so that potential clients would feel interested to learn more about you when they see your profile.

Optimize your profile headline by filling in keywords that your potential clients use when they are searching for what you offer, such as “marketing director”, “social media consultant” etc. Also briefly describe what value you provide to give others a reason to read your profile further.

Build Connections

Upon completing your profile, you can let LinkedIn help you build your first connections by scanning your email account to see which of your email contacts have LinkedIn accounts so that you can connect with them. There is a “People you may know” function which recommends people having the same interests, coming from the same industry of you, having common connections and so on.

You can use “advanced search” to search your target by different categories such as industries, skills, locations, job titles and so on.

Engage And Interact

It is important to engage with your network before you directly approach your potential clients. They may not be willing to respond to you if you had no interaction with them before. The following are some tips for you to engage on LinkedIn so that you can start a conversation with your audience and make it natural to approach your potential clients.

1. Share someone else’s update and article

If you read something you like and think the information will be beneficial to your audience, share them and tag the authors to give credit at the same time so you can get yourself exposed to the tagged contact’s network.

2. Comment on someone else’s update

More than just liking, why not leave a comment that is smart, inspiring or meaningful? Other readers will be curious to click your profile picture beside the comment and build a connection with you. It also helps to maintain the relationship between you and the person who shared the update.

3. Join groups and start discussion

Joining groups is another way to increase your profile exposure and visibility. Join some groups that relate to your particular interests, your industry or your potential clients’ industries. Starting discussions and commenting on new threads to further expand your network and explore clients.

If you keep doing these, your network will grow and it will be easier for you to find new business on LinkedIn. Once you discover your potential clients, talk to them and get your business deals!

* Inbound Marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, Social Media, blog and 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.

3 Ways CEOs Can Participate In Social Media

3 Ways CEOs Can Participate In Social Media

There is no doubt that social media has totally changed the traditional marketing outlook and contributed to the advent of Inbound Marketing*.

In Singapore and other countries in South-East Asia, a traditional corporate hierarchical culture is still limiting employees to working within the boundaries of their job designations but a new online business dynamism is redefining marketing work.

Nowadays, more CEOs actively engage in social media. According to Ann Charles, BRANDfog Founder & CEO, “In today’s hyper-connected, information-driven world, CEOs and senior executives alike are expected to have an active social presence. Brand image, brand trust, and a company’s long-term success depend on it.” CEOs’ participation in social media is a good way to share news and information about the company. It can help to spread positive word-of-mouth and defend the company if it is at risk. But how should CEOs get involved in social media?

  1. Get The Suitable Tools

CEOs are always busy at managing different things. They usually have little time to manage multiple social accounts. Therefore, they should choose the right platforms on which they are most likely to succeed. For example, if the CEOs have a pithy communication style, they might do best with Twitter. On the other hand, CEOs who are more comfortable in front of a camera should choose YouTube as the platform for communication. Having the right platforms for communication is the key to keep the social media accounts active and engaging.

  1. Get Help From Others

Although there are CEOs who love to participate in social media and are naturally sociable, there are still some CEOs who do not feel comfortable in this medium. Those CEOs can get help from others by setting up a team to manage accounts on behalf of them. The social media team can help to keep up with social media tools, monitor online chatter and sentiments and educate the CEO on how to maximize social media usage in their own way.

  1. Get A Daily Summary From the Social Media Team

Even though CEOs can hire social media team to manage the accounts on their behalf, they still need to know what is going on. CEOs should ask their social media team to give them a daily summary of the accounts such Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, etc. As a result, CEOs can review the content and decide what they personally should reply to.

We should keep in mind that, in today’s world, people want to engage with celebrities and CEOs themselves rather than talk with a social media team. Being proactive online is highly recommended to CEOs since this can show that they truly care about their clients, customers and fans.

* 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.

5 Tips For Generating Sales Leads Using Social Media Outlets

5 Tips For Generating Sales Leads Using Social Media Outlets

Social media is a great platform to generate sales leads for Asian businesses. However, time and effort are required. Read on to find out 5 key points in generating leads using social media outlets.

  1. Utilize Multiple Channels

In order to generate more leads, you need to make use of all possible social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn.

  1. Useful and Valuable Content

“All great marketing is about understanding the people you want to reach and creating something valuable, interesting or entertaining just for them,” – David Meerman Scott said.

The more useful and valuable the content is for your audience, the higher the chances of generating more sales leads. Therefore, you should try to understand what your target audience truly value and want to read. Then you can share articles according to their needs and wants, and establish yourself as an expert.

  1. Engage the Audience

To create a great impression to all potential leads, you should consistently engage your audience. You should re-post, re-tweet, and link interesting articles. When customers and visitors post questions and comments on your social media pages, you should respond to them within a short period of time. Also, you can have people write guest posts for your blog and you in turn can write for them. Fostering connections is important for social media success.

  1. Add Website Links

Adding your company’s websites on your social media is a vital way to generate more sales leads. Having your company’s website address in the profile descriptions of social media accounts can lead to more access to your website and more lead conversions eventually.

  1. Measure the Results

By measuring your social media marketing results, you can understand if what you are doing is generating leads. You should quantify the social media activities into useful metrics so that you can decide your further actions. It is necessary for you to use social media monitoring tools since they can provide you the best possible evaluation.

The way people market has changed, while traditional marketing is losing its effectiveness. The use of Inbound Marketing*, which involves the top social platforms as mentioned above, will enable you to move one step closer to generating more leads.

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

How To Get More Facebook Page Likes?

How To Get More Facebook Page Likes

While marketing your products or services, you need a community filled with people who like you and are willing to share your content with like-minded friends. Facebook, as most people know, is a huge platform which allows you to connect and share. This is something Inbound Marketing* requires for expansion of contacts.

It is not just about the quantity of Facebook Likes that you collect; it is about the quality—attracting Facebook likes from a group targeted to suit your business goals whose comments can increase your shares on Facebook and achieve more business opportunities.

So here are 5 quick and basic tips to drive targeted Facebook likes to your business page.

1) Complete your Facebook Business Page Profile

Ensure that the link connected to your website after you have created your Facebook Page works. Further detailed information such as your address, phone number and hours of operation listed will help the potential clients understand your business better on the page. Not only will this inform your potential followers, it will tell others what kind of organization you are and what type of business you offer, so that they see your company when searching for products or services like yours.

2) Invite Existing Contacts to Like you on the Facebook Page

Business opportunities, in fact, were already present with the help of friends and family. These people would be more than willing to connect with your business on Facebook. Try asking them for more Likes and positive reviews. These initial likes will give you higher social media credibility and visibility. Following that, you should alert your existing customers, business partners and other social communities, requesting them to promote your Facebook page anywhere and mention your website.

Within the Page Manager section of your page under the ‘Build Audience’ menu of Facebook, you have the option to invite your personal Facebook friends to like the page, share your page with your Facebook friends through the News Feed, and upload a list of email contacts to encourage existing contacts to connect.

3) Create Value and Publish Engaging Content

Without publishing engaging and entertaining posts on a regular basis, your Inbound Marketing strategy is incomplete. You should also pay attention to the posts that get the most engagement. If your posts are valuable to your followers, they will share your posts and help increase your Facebook likes. Alternating photo and video updates are among the best types of posts for driving engagement so make sure you publish information your followers can relate to and will like.

You may also want to include calls-to-action (CTAs) in some of your posts, asking followers to like, comment or share your content, or ask your community a question. If you’re in tune with your buyer personas, you will have a good idea of what types of content to publish. If not, or if you just need some inspiration, consider spending a week taking note of the types of content in your own News Feed that compels you to click, comment, or share.

4) Pay for new Likes by using Facebook Advertising

One of the advertising channels that Facebook provides is ‘Page Like Ad’ that contains a CTA to ‘Like Page’ to gain more Likes for your Page. It will appear in the News Feed as a Page post or display ads on the sidebar of the News Feed. If you want to reach people who don’t even know about your Page, but would possibly be interested in hearing from you, you can use Facebook’s targeting capabilities to reach your ideal buyers and grow your business.

5) Measure, Analyze and Learn

Use Facebook Insights to search useful metrics on your page performance. You can see things like reach (how many users are seeing your posts), engaged users (how many users engage with your posts) and new likes (when and why do you get new followers). These metrics will help you understand what’s driving your likes and engagement, so that you can adjust your posts accordingly.

I believe you are most likely on Facebook, hence you will be able to make use of these useful techniques to gather Likes and further improve your Inbound Marketing strategies.

* 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.

11 Must-Haves For Mobile-Optimized Landing Pages

11 Must-Haves For Mobile-Optimised Landing Pages

Did you know there are 6 billions smartphones in use worldwide? This translates to about 90% of the world’s population. With mobile browsing being a fundamental function of the smartphone, more websites are catching on to having their pages optimized for mobile viewing. Asian and Singapore marketers would do well to make their websites or landing pages mobile-responsive. If your visitors can’t view your landing page properly on their smartphones, your click-through rate and subsequently lead conversion rate are going to be much lower than otherwise.

Here’s a checklist to make sure you have the best mobile-optimized landing page.

1. Be visible

Plugins such as Flash and PNG-24 images don’t work great for mobile browsing. Instead, you can turn to HTML5, jQuery, or JPGs to be visible to mobile viewers.

2. Scale to size

Scale your content appropriately to the type of device consumers are going to use to access your page. Also, remember to scale your page for both portrait and landscape views.

3. Be concise

With mobile pages, less is definitely more. The small screens of mobile devices coupled with lengthy copy will instantly dissolve your reader’s attention, so keep your text short and sweet.

4. Include a call-to-action (CTA)

The purpose of your landing page comes down to this. Offering something useful in exchange for your readers taking action on your page via the CTA. On a mobile phone, the CTA works much better as a button than an opt-in form.

5. Be thumb-friendly

Make your CTA buttons or any other interactive elements on your landing page big enough to be clickable, add enough space between clickable links (to avoid mis-clicks), and use touch swipe gestures whenever possible.

6. Slim is in

Have your content in a single column so viewers can scroll in a single direction.

7. Simplify

When it comes to forms, it can be quite a hassle on mobile devices. Keep them to the bare minimum, or split your form into two pages.

8. Load fast

If your page takes ages to load, you’ll get a high bounce rate. Keep your data below 20kb so your page loads under 5 seconds.

9. Be straightforward

Limit the number of actions a user has to take to get to the reward or offer, and make sure each action is compelling and easy to fulfill.

10. Be legible

Make sure your content is big enough to be read. If visitors have to squint to read your text, they will likely leave your page immediately.

11. Test for the best

Test the different elements on your landing page using A/B testing. Elements that work on a desktop page may not necessarily work on mobile pages.

Before mobilising your landing pages, make sure you have solid fundamentals in landing page design. Read “6 Features Your Landing Page Should Have“.

3 Reasons For Using Workflows To Nurture Sales Leads

3 Reasons for Using Workflows to Nurture Leads

Workflows, also known as marketing automation, is one of the most powerful tools available in Inbound Marketing* for engaging your potential prospects. To know more about how workflows work and when the right time for workflow implementation is, take a look at our previous blog post, The Secrets Of Email Workflows For Lead Conversion.

Let’s take a look at 3 reasons why you should be using workflows for easier and more effective lead management.

  1. Workflows Help You Convert More Leads Into Customers

Using workflows gives you the opportunity to have exceedingly powerful segmentation of your leads. Your leads can be grouped on the basis of different properties and behaviors. This means that you can very closely target your emails to their specific interests and needs, such that each customer’s needs will be achieved by your company, through workflows.

The days of pushing one standardized email to all your leads are long gone. Now is the time for using smarter tools to send your lead content on what they are looking for in particular, rather than general content for all leads, that they will likely be uninterested in. According to a report released by Lenskold Group, 60% of survey respondents who use marketing automation say it has increased the quality of the leads, who get converted to customers eventually.

  1. You Can Customize the Content and Timing of Your Workflows

The specifics of your workflow can be set according to the prospects’ position in the life cycle of your Inbound Marketing funnel. For example, if you have a handful of leads that are much closer to being ready to buy your products than others who are still doing their research, you can set up a workflow to send the former group three to four emails per week, instead of one. If your leads who own small businesses respond better to emails sent on weekends, you can set your workflow for these leads to only trigger emails to send on Saturdays and Sundays. By allowing you to take control over the process details, you can tailor each workflow to work best for your leads, and in return, your company.

  1. Using Workflows Saves Time

Workflows are completely automated in sending emails or offers to leads. Once they are grouped according to their needs and wants in a workflow, your company can assure that the emails will be sent on time to the prospects, without you having to lift a finger. The only thing you need to do is following up from time to time on their activities on your website. This saves up a lot of time for your other projects.

I’m sure there isn’t any good reason not to jump onto the bandwagon and get involved in using workflows now. With the time and effort saved on lead nurturing, you’ll be able to free up loads of resources to focus on other projects.

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

Introducing LinkedIn’s 2 New Tools For Inbound Marketing

LinkedIn has introduced 2 tools to improve your social media marketing a bit smarter. Content Marketing Score assists you in measuring your company’s success and Trending Content provides insights into what successful content looks like, giving you much more in-depth context.

On top of measuring your success with LinkedIn marketing analytics, these 2 tools offer some additional LinkedIn-specific recommendations that can be coupled and tracked with your existing tools. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have more data that is actionable and specific?

Let us take a deeper understanding of these tools and look at how you can use them in your marketing campaigns.

Content Marketing Score

LinkedIn’s Content Marketing Score provides the data you need to grow your company’s presence. It measures the members’ engagement with your “Sponsored Updates”, “Company Pages”, “LinkedIn Groups”, “Employee Updates”, and “Influencer Posts” if applicable, and ranks you against your competitors based on these criteria.

You can filter your score results and compare them against others in the same region, seniority, company size, job function, and/or industry. LinkedIn will also give you recommendations for improving your score over time.

The competitor data is a great tool especially for viewing who you are matched up against and how you perform against them, which can be eye-opening.

If your company wants to take a deep dive into optimizing its LinkedIn presence, these metrics will be very helpful in mastering the first step of LinkedIn, which is engaging your followers. If you are interested in getting the full picture of how your LinkedIn marketing drives results, you can supplement your Content Marketing Score with the rest of your marketing analytics.

Trending Content

One crucial aspect of developing an Inbound Marketing* strategy is to be on top of the current happenings in your industry. It is important to know the current issues if you plan on creating compelling content that will generate traffic and leads. Having an RSS feed set up on top websites to get news from is a good start. LinkedIn’s Trending Content is an additional tool for your industry monitoring list.

This interactive tool reveals the most popular content on LinkedIn for each different audience and topic segment, such as automotive, executive, financial services, health and pharmaceuticals, high-tech, IT, marketing, small businesses, students, and venture capitalists. You can pick your segment and view top shared articles and topics from posts and Influencers Channel on LinkedIn.

Aside from LinkedIn, you can boost your marketing efforts with other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter! To achieve that, read up on these tools that will help you optimize these channels.

* 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 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.

Inbound Marketing: ALL Your Questions Answered! (Part 2)

Inbound Marketing: ALL Your Questions Answered!

Previously in “Inbound Marketing: ALL Your Questions Answered! (Part 1)“, we defined what Inbound Marketing* is and how it works. In this post, we explain why you should start on Inbound Marketing right away.

WHY should you start focusing on Inbound Marketing?

4 simple reasons:

1. Inbound Marketing gets you not just any traffic, but gets you the right traffic.

The right traffic refers to people who are most likely to become leads, and customers eventually. Conventional marketing, sometimes called interruption marketing, reaches out to a wide audience through a variety of techniques such as telemarketing, direct mail, email spam, and TV/radio advertisements, but only a small amount of this audience is cast in by this form of marketing.

But why?

There’s a good chance that the audience you’re reaching out to has absolutely no interest in what you’re promoting. But with Inbound Marketing, your traffic is the right traffic, because your content lines up with customers’ interests, helping them be where they want to be, instead of getting interrupted by calls, spam mail, and TV ads.

2. The Internet is the future.

The Internet is the present and the future. Inbound Marketing is the present and the future. As we move forward, new solutions allow us to block out the interruption we face from traditional marketing—”Do Not Call” registries, email spam filters, opting out of junk mail, and the ability to skip or fast—forward through TV/radio advertisements.

On the other hand, we rely on the Internet for everything—we embrace the Internet. When in doubt, we search the net for answers, be it for store locations, meal ideas, or for a particular service you require. On top of that, we are also constantly on the net during our leisure time. In a nutshell, we are always on the Internet.

Think about it this way: if you were to put up a poster advertising your business, would you choose a location where you have everyone’s attention, or somewhere that nobody frequents? The former, of course. Since everyone (ie. your potential customers) is on the Internet, the Internet is the place for your business to be.

3. The Internet is free

Most of the platforms you’ll need to use in Inbound Marketing are free. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and a slew of other social media and blogging platforms are completely free for your use. Additionally, there’s a handful of other tools you can use in tandem with your blogs and social media to track your progress on the World Wide Web—check out a blog post we wrote about it here: Top 5 Online Tools You Can Use For FREE

Think of all the costs you’ll save when you make the transition to Inbound Marketing!

4. Inbound Marketing is sustainable

It is sustainable in terms of costs—it saves a great deal of money and allows your marketing efforts to carry on for a much longer time than if invested in traditional marketing.

It is sustainable in terms of your success. In Inbound Marketing, you earn your audience through your content, whereas in traditional marketing, you buy your way to your audience through purchased contact lists and paid advertisements, which more often than not, leave them irritated and interrupted. The audience you get from Inbound Marketing is going to appreciate your content and your business more, because they are where they want to be. As such, they will stick around instead of blocking you out; not only will your audience be sustained, but will probably even grow, through the powers of Internet sharing, ie. word of mouth (or word of keyboard, in this case).

When?

The time for Inbound Marketing is NOW.

To learn more about Inbound Marketing and what it can do for your business, subscribe to our blog.

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