Wednesday, 31 December 2014

13 Email Marketing Hacks

1) Have a process.

It's a mistake to think that defining and implementing a process in your email marketing slows you down. According to Matt, having a well-defined process actually has the opposite effect: It gives email marketers more time to be creative and experiment because they aren't constantly putting out fires or fixing egregious errors. You know what I mean -- all those little mishaps that could have been prevented ... with a process. 

2) Review your emails on multiple platforms.

Matt recommended using Litmus, an email testing platform that shows users how their message will appear on several different email clients, in both HTML and text, and on mobile.
(HubSpot customers: You can use Litmus directly from your HubSpot email tool thanks to a pretty handy partnership. Learn more here.)

3) Don’t be afraid to resend.

“If someone doesn’t open an email, it’s as if it doesn’t exist,” said Matt. So why not resend it to the people who didn’t see it? Out of all his tips, Matt said this was the one that prompted the biggest response of, “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!”

4) Short subject lines increase open rates.

Matt got this tidbit from The Science of Email 2014, which also reports on how images and certain words affect clickthrough rate.

5) Don’t make subject lines too detailed.

After all, the point of a subject line is to prompt the recipient to open the message. If you give away too much information, their curiosity is gone. “It doesn’t have to communicate a lot, it just has to get someone to say, ‘tell me more,’” Matt said.

6) Think in terms of integrated sales and marketing.

Email marketers tend to get obsessed with clicks and open rates. But the whole point of email marketing is to generate leads to hand off to sales to become customers.
So don’t just send an individual email and move on -- think about the all the messages prospects are receiving from both marketing and sales as an entire program, and adjust those that don’t fit into the overall flow. If that means providing sales with some talking points or other enablement content, so be it.

7) Forwards and replies in subject lines are okay.

Provided they are real forwards or replies. When people see “FWD:” or “RE:” in the subject line, it’s a sign that they’re going to get some deeper information. If they open your email and see that you faked them out, they get mad. But if they see that you’re actually providing some more information and following up in a real way, you won’t provoke their anger.

8) Enlist a proofreader.

Someone who is not involved in the campaign, or perhaps not even in the marketing department. It can be dangerous to send a message out without first being read by a fresh pair of eyes. Trst me, I knoww.

9) Take advantage of content delivery emails.

Your prospect just filled out a form to download a whitepaper. You deliver the link in an email that says (drum roll, please): “Thank you for downloading this whitepaper.” ... Doesn’t that seem like a missed opportunity?
Matt pointed out that these emails are sometimes owned by a group other than Marketing, which might not be privy to the overall experience Marketing is trying to deliver. Take back ownership and write some better copy that gives prospects more choices of what to do next stat. As Matt put it, “There should be no dead ends in marketing.”

10) Draft your subject lines.

How many times have you poured over the body copy of an email, only to slap a subject line on at the last second? Matt said it should be the opposite -- spend more time on the subject line, and less on the body. If no one opens your email, who cares what it says?

11) A/B test subject lines.

It’s easy to do, and it’s informative. The subject line can also cast a filter on the entire message, so copywriters should be encouraged to get creative and find out how the first blurb the recipient sees changes their perception of the entire package. (Don't know how to run an A/B test? 

12) Coordinate emails with all other buyer-facing messaging.

Your customers and prospects should be getting a consistent experience across all of your platforms. What single message are you delivering through all of your tweets, posts, blogs, emails, offers, sales calls, copy, and other vehicles?

13) Broaden your metrics past open and click rates.

Odds are, the executive team doesn’t care about opens or clicks. What they do care about, however, is revenue. Find a way to connect your email marketing campaigns with leads transferred to sales to deals closed and revenue earned. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s valuable for both your company and your career. Revenue reporting within HubSpot can help connect the dots.
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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Improve Your Social Media Marketing in 2015


Did you spend 2014 thinking that social media was a poor excuse for a marketing channel? That Twitter is too superficial to help your business grow and profit, or that Instagram is too fluffy of a platform for a serious brand to use well?
Let me level with you: it’s not social media, it’s you.
If you dismiss social media networks as unimportant or ineffective marketing tools, you’re missing out on a huge — and free — form of smart, useful marketing for your brand or business.
I’d love to help you enter the New Year with a new perspective on social, and how to use it to your advantage. Use these tips to better your social media presence and start seeing a better ROI of your time and effort in 2015:

Understand Why Social Media Matters

You can’t hope to improve social media marketing efforts in 2015 until you take a moment to recognize what these platforms can do for you.
Proper content marketing on social media can:
  • Raise awareness of your brand and provide greater exposure to clients, customers, collaborators, and connections
  • Build a loyal group of fans that believe in what you’re doing
  • Lead to new business opportunities
  • Give better insight into your target market
  • Increase conversions and lead generation
…and that’s just scratching the surface. But if you miss the main point of social media, you’ll likely not see these excellent benefits. And that main point? 

Be Social!

It’s right in the name: social media. Social media marketing won’t work for you if you’re not actively engaging in social behaviors on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Instagram, and whatever other platform you’re on. 
That means engaging in conversations, not just tooting your own horn 24/7. Ask questions, or answer other people’s queries. Provide resources and helpful hints. Give people a chance to connect with you in a genuine way. 
They can’t do that if you’re constantly shouting about how great you are in the form of every single update you create being about you and pushing people to click back to your main site. 

Keep Showing Up

You need to be social, and that means being present for the conversations that happen in real time. Or at least, maintaining a steady, consistent presence.
It’s tough to monitor social media feeds and streams because many of them move fast — and there’s always a lot of content to sort through. But you don’t need to sit on social media all day long to achieve this. 
Use tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to help you manage your own updates and keep up with the conversation — without making yourself crazy trying to check in to all your accounts every 15 minutes.

Know Where Your Target Audience Is

Do you use Twitter because someone told you to do so? Are you on Facebook because it’s the only platform you’re familiar and comfortable with?
If so, you’re not likely seeing good results from your efforts (unless your target audience just happens to be there, too).
There is no right social media network on which to invest your time. At least, there’s not a single answer for every brand and business. The right platform for yours will be the one where your target audience is.
Take a bit of time to do some market research and figure out — where do my clients or customers like to be? Then go to them in 2015.

Stop Forcing It

Too many times in 2014, we heard about brands getting themselves into social snafus with inappropriate hashtag use. Whether it’s a hashtag or a comment, tweet, or update that you post in an effort to forcibly inject your brand or business into someone else’s conversation, it’s not good.
If a hashtag isn’t relevant to you and your audience, don’t use it. Just stop. It’s not genuine, it can get you into serious trouble with the general public, and it only tells people how hard you’re trying to force this.

Create a Plan

All the advice in the world can’t better your social media marketing in 2015 if you’re not willing to get organized, take things seriously, and create a plan of action for your strategies and ideas. Try taking the following steps to get you started:
  • Determine what social media platforms you’ll be on, based on where your target audience likes to hang out
  • Plan out how frequently you’ll post (per day, per week, etc)
  • Decide what kind of content you’ll share and lay out a variety — from links, to quotes, to tips, to sharing other brands’ content — but choose a main form of update that you’ll stick with most often to create recognizable consistency.
  • Choose tools to help you implement (and save you time)
  • Give it a shot! Take action and start getting social
  • Reevaluate your plan and more importantly, your results from your actions. Make changes and tweaks based on those results, and keep on working on your strategy as you learn and test.
How will you improve your social media marketing in the new year?
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Monday, 29 December 2014

15 Step SEO Checklist

15 Step SEO Checklist for 2015
Entering into the New Year of 2015, Google’s algorithm is changing at a rapid pace. It was recently announced by the search engine behemoth that its “Penguin” algorithm is going to be rolling-out on a consistent basis. This doesn’t even include the Panda or Hummingbird algorithm updates.

Website owners and online marketers who want to appear high on Google need to be aware of the trends of search engine optimization entering the New Year. If you are proactive and follow the proper guidelines set by Google, you can reap the benefits of increased organic traffic and a stellar Google presence.

We have mapped out a “15-Step Checklist” to follow for your website to ensure that you are well prepared for 2015 in regards to search engine optimizations constantly changing algorithm. If you are to properly follow the checklist, you can be a king in 2015 when it comes to your SEO.

1. Title Tags:

The title tags on your homepage and tertiary pages of your website are one of the most important SEO signals to Google. According to Moz, Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag, or as many characters as will fit into a 512-pixel display. If you keep your titles under 55 characters, you can expect at least 95% of your titles to display properly.

Make sure your title tags fit within the appropriate character length and are relevant to your company’s service offered and the location of your business.

2. On-Page Content: 

Including the keywords that you have placed in your title tags 3-4 times (naturally) within the actual page content on your website will help Google realize what type of product or services that your business is offering. You don’t want to stuff the keywords into the paragraphs within your website. Making sure they are placed in a way that will be fluent to the readers is another step in the right direction for your SEO.

The content on your website should be unique. What exactly does this mean? Unique content simply means that those words, in that order, don't appear anywhere else on the web.

3. URL and H1 Tags:

The H1 tag is another great place to insert various keywords for your business. If you are a “Dentist in Dayton” don’t just put “Premier Dentist” in your H1 tag. Otherwise, Google will not be as likely to pick on the location of your practice. Make sure to optimize the H1 tag so it is pertinent to your company and the location of where you are based!

Additionally, if you incorporate relevant keywords into your URL, this can have an added SEO benefit. According toRand Fishkin, an SEO guru, recommends the "perfect" keyword placement in the title element or a URL for better user experience, a higher chance of having my content shared on social networks, or a better click-through rate in the search results.

4. Link Building:

The amount of high quality backlinks pointing to your website is a strong indicator of the overall strength of your site that Google determines. Take note that we mentioned HIGH QUALITY LINKS. If you are a Dayton Dentist, getting a link from the Better Business Bureau and the American Dental Association are the perfect types of links that should point back to you site. The last thing you want is inorganic links that could put you into Google’s penalty box. Make sure you are reaching out to authoritative and trusted sites to link back to you. This will build the overall strength of your site, and can eventually help you rank high on Google.

Google provides an explanation on what manipulating page rank would look like. Make sure that you are abiding to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines when formulating a link building strategy.

5. Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird:

Have you invested a lot of money into SEO and are nowhere to be found on Google? You might have been hit with one of its algorithm updates such as Penguin, Panda or Hummingbird. Like we mentioned at the beginning of the article, SEO can be a tricky field and Google continues to roll out with algorithm updates. If you think you have been hit with an algorithm update, follow @BarrySchwartz and @MarieHaynes as they provide amazing insight into the SEO algorithm updates.

It will also be beneficial to look at any major spikes in your website traffic and see if it correlates with any of the dates that Google released an algorithm update.

6. Blogging:

When you create blog content for your website, this counts as fresh and updated content in the eyes of Google. Writing unique content that will drive more traffic to your website is definitely a good move that Google will like. Additionally, if you are writing unique content for your website that pertains to your industry, you could drive more leads for your business. This would all come thanks to your awesome blog!

Search Engine Watch recommends the following tips for maintaining a successful blog:
·      Write about news events
·      Write about product or service launches, changes in your industry and related areas.
·      Watch Google Trends and Twitter
7. Social Media:

Nowadays, the search engines are able to pick up on whether or not you have a large social media following. A solid social media strategy can definitely help catapult your businesses SEO efforts in 2015.

Imagine if you write an amazing article that you share via social media and this content goes viral and gets shared on hundreds of websites. All of the links pointing back to your website could have a tremendous SEO benefit and social media was the backbone behind this effort. Make sure to incorporate social media into your SEO efforts. Good things happen when more people see your site or brand.

8. Video: 

Did you know that Google owns YouTube? The search engine giant shows favoritism towards videos created on YouTube. If you were to conduct a Google search, you will see a video thumbnail often times on the first or second page of Google. This can provide a big boost for your SEO efforts.

There are more than 6 billion hours of videos watched each month on YouTube. For the upcoming year, create videos for your business and optimize them properly for the search engines. This can help drive more traffic and exposure for your business!
9. Audit: 

Before you take a deep dive into your SEO efforts, make sure to have an expert conduct an audit of your current efforts. This can take just a few hours for a professional from the outside to analyze.

An SEO expert will be able to determine the quality of links pointing back to your site, the on and off page SEO content and how you are faring versus the competition.

SEO is similar in a sense to performing surgery. It can be a very delicate area so you want to make sure you have someone performing the surgery that is an expert.

10. Public Relations: 

Someone on your staff should be spending several hours a week conducting “Digital PR.” What exactly is digital PR? This is the practice of reaching out to websites trying to get their publication to do a write-up on your company.

If a well-known website links back to your site or mentions your company name, this can pay big dividends for the SEO of your website.

If you are a tennis club, have your club professional reach out to the top twenty tennis related websites. If you make a pitch to write content on their website, this can drive a boatload of web traffic and awareness for your club. It will also make your business (in this case, the tennis club) an even more authoritative figure within the industry.

11. Optimized Photos:

Did you know that Google can pick-up on the way that you name the images on your website? If you incorporate keywords pertaining to your business in the Alt Tags, this can positively impact your website if this is properly executed.
According to, because search engines can’t read images, you need to use alt tags to help describe your image. Google image search only gets a half a percent of Google’s overall traffic. But due to blended search results, images actually get a lot more traffic than that half a percent.
12. Google+ 

There is a lot of chatter about the failure of Google+ as a social network. When it comes to the main benefit of Google+, it is definitely the positive impact that it can have for your search engine optimization. provides great insight on 8 tips for optimizing your Google+ page posts to boost SEO.

Google My Business is directly connected to Google+. If your Google My Business page is properly optimized and contains all of the localized information for your business, this can help your company appear higher in the localized search results.

According to Google, Google My Business helps you build a loyal fan base. Your customers can show their appreciation with ratings and reviews, use the +1 button to endorse your content, and re-share your Google+ posts across the web.

13. Company Photos:

Sticking on the Google+ train, if you conduct a branded search query for your companies name on Google, you will notice that your Google+ page will appear on the right hand side of Google’s search query. (If your page has been created and properly connected to your site).

Make sure to add compelling photos of your business. It is important to leave a good first impression when people are searching for your company.

Just imagine if a family is debating between two pizza restaurants for dinner. If there is a delicious image of a slice of pizza on the right hand side of Google when someone searches for your company, this can make a big difference in the decision making process.

14. Research:

Search Engine Optimization is a field that is constantly changing. Whether you are conducting the SEO for your business or if you have an outsider helping out, it is crucial to follow all of the industry news.

If you have seen a downtick in traffic, you will want to know whether or not this is related to an algorithm change. Staying fresh on SEO related material will help you come up with new ideas for your SEO strategy and stay in-line with Google’s quality guidelines.

Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch and MOZ are all great sites for search engine optimization with extremely resourceful articles.
15. Google Webmaster:

Are you familiar with Google Webmaster? If the answer is no, you need to familiarize yourself with this tool in 2015. For SEO, this is the official source of truth in terms of your keyword ranking positioning on Google. It will also tell you how much organic traffic is coming to your website from various keywords and the links that are pointing back to your site.

Familiarizing yourself with Google Webmaster will just add another tool to your digital marketing arsenal in 2015.

In conclusion, 2015 is a great time to put search engine optimization at the forefront of your marketing efforts. If you master SEO, you can catapult towards the top of Google and increase your website traffic, leads and overall business. Be careful though, with Google’s constantly changing algorithm, it is important to stay up-to-date on the ever-changing rules pertaining to SEO.
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Sunday, 28 December 2014

10 Tips For An Awesome And SEO Friendly Blog Post

Writing a blog post -like all other writing- is a skill. In order to keep your reader interested, you should think about structuring your text and writing in an appealing style. You should help your readers to grasp the main idea of your post by providing headings, subheadings and clear paragraphs. If people understand and like your text, they are much more likely to share, like, tweet and link to your post. And that will increase your rankings! So, in order to improve your ranking in Google, you should definitely try to maximize your writing skills!
For some, writing for SEO purposes and writing to attract and keep attracting your audience could appear as two contradictory goals. However, I totally disagree. Indeed, if you not only want a good but also an SEO-friendly blog post, your text should be written in such a way that the words you want to be found for have a very prominent place. And, using your keywords too often severely damages the readability of your text. So, you definitely should not do that!
In this post, I would like to give some tips on writing blog posts that are both very readable as well as SEO-friendly. I genuinely think those two goals should (and can easily!) go hand in hand!

Elementary writing tips for good blog posts

Before anything, your blog post just has to be a good piece of writing! A lot of bloggers just begin to write after creating a new blog post. They just type what comes to mind. For some, this may be sufficient, because they are natural writing talents. Others may need some help. I always follow the next set of ‘rules’ myself.

1. Think before you write!

Think hard about the message of your text. What do you want to tell your readers? And what is the purpose of your text? What do you want you readers to do at the end of the page? Write down the answers to these questions before you begin writing.

2. Write down the structure of your blog post.

Every post should have some sort of introduction (in which you introduce your topic), a body (in which the main message is written) and a conclusion (which should summarize the most important ideas or deduce some new idea). Write down what you want to write in all these three sections. You now have some sort of summary of your post. The real writing can begin!

3. Use paragraphs.

Everybody uses paragraphs, but make sure to use paragraphs that make sense. Do not start a new sentence on a new line, just because it looks nice. There should be a reason for making a new paragraph. Every paragraph should have a main idea or a main subject. Ask yourself what the main idea of each paragraph is. You should be able to grasp that main idea in only one sentence. If you need more sentences, you simply need more paragraphs!

4. Use Headings.

If you want people to find their way in your articles, you should use subheadings. Subheadings will lead people, help them scan your page, and make the structure of your articles that much clearer.

5. Use signal words.

Signal words help people to scan through your text and help people to grasp your main idea. If you, for instance, have three reasons for wanting to sell a product, you should use signal words as: First of all, Secondly and Finally. Also, words as Nevertheless, Surely and Indeed also give a clear signal to your readers. Readers will instantly get that a conclusion will follow after words as Thus, So or Therefore. Signal words are thus very important to structure your text.

6. Let other people read your post.

Before publishing your post, let someone else read your post first. Ask him/her whether or not he understands the main idea of your post. Correct typo’s and sentences that are not formulated correctly.

Additional tips for writing an SEO-friendly blog post

These tips were taken from chapter 7 of our ebook Optimize your WordPress site.
Cover of optimize your WordPress siteI think you should start writing, while using the tips I mentioned above. You should never compromise the structure or the readability of your text for SEO purposes. If people like and understand your post, they are much more likely to link, tweet and share your posts. This will lead to higher ranking and more traffic. Nevertheless, without compromising on structure or readability, you can do somethings to improve your ranking even further.

1. Write rather lengthy articles.

Make sure your articles have a minimum of 300 words. As a general rule of thumb: try to put down your search terms in about 1 to 2 percent of your text. So in an article of 300 words, you should mention your search terms 3 to 6 times.

2. Use headings.

Headings are important for readability, but for SEO as well. Make sure that your keywords are used in the subheadings, but do not put your keyword in every subheading (as it will make the text unreadable). Headings help Google to grasp the main topics of a long post and thus can help in your ranking.

3. Use our WordPress SEO plugin.

Our WordPress SEO plugin actually helps you write an SEO-friendly blog post. If you want the help of our plugin you should start by choosing your focus keyword and entering it in the appropriate box. This is the most important search term you want people to find this particular page for. Our plugin actually measures many aspects of the text you are writing and helps with making your blog post SEO-friendly. We will describe the most important ones:
  • The plugin allows you to formulate a meta description. This description has to be a short text which indicates the main topic of the page. If the meta description contains the search term people use, the exact text will be shown by Google underneath your URL in the search results.
  • The plugin analyzes the text you write. It calculates a Flesch reading ease score, which indicates the readability of your article. The Flesch reading ease score for example takes into account the length of sentences.
  • The plugin does a pretty big number of checks. It checks whether or not you used your keyword in 5 important locations: the article-heading, the title of the page, the URL of the page, the content of the article and the meta-description. The plugin also checks the presence of links in your article and the presence of images in the article. It calculates the number of words and the density of usage of the focus keyword in the article. Above that, the plugin also checks whether or not other pages on your website use the same focus keyword, to prevent you from competing with yourself.
If you write a relatively SEO-friendly blog post (based on the aspects mentioned before) the plugin will indicate this with a green bullet. Writing pages with green bullets will help you improve the ranking of the pages on your website.
Note that not every dot has to be green for the overall score to be “good”. For instance, these are the results of this post, which does have a “Good” score:
page analysis results for this SEO-friendly blog post

4. Add content regularly.

Adding actual and functional information to your website will give Google the idea that your website is alive. If it’s not an active website, Google will crawl it less often and it might become less appealing to Google to include the page in the search results.

Bonus tip: Link to previous content

If you already wrote some content about the topic of your current post, don’t forget to link to these posts. It will make your post stronger because you show some authority on the subject. Next to that, your link-structure is also of importance for your ranking in Google. You should read Joost his post about cornerstone articles if you want to read more about this.


The era in which some SEO tricks were sufficient to get your website to rank high in Google has long ended. Nowadays, good content has the highest likelihood to result in a higher positions in Google. And good content also leads to more Facebook likes and shares, tweets and return visitors to your website. Of course, you can do some extra things to maximize the SEO friendliness of your post, but most important is: just write a very, very good post!
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Saturday, 27 December 2014

You’re Not Relevant: 6 Content Marketing Tips to Avoid Blending In

“The tiny cost of failure is dwarfed by the huge cost of not trying.” ~Seth Godin
Being relevant means to be closely connected. When customers align with your brand and feel connected, they start to develop trust in you and your products and services. Revenue grows as trust is strengthened. 
When it comes to marketing, there is nothing worse than blending in. Being considered “not relevant” either through your marketing messages or by word-of-mouth, does no one any good. Companies send us information all the time but it’s often not very relevant or valuable (aka: spam). When you’re not relevant, you’re forgotten. Good content marketing makes a person stop…read… think… behave… differently.
Take a moment and think of a brand that you feel connected with. It could be a major brand or it could be your local restaurant or clothing boutique. There are components to their philosophy of doing business that resonate with you. There may even be personal relationships formed. The experience they deliver keeps you coming back.
Now contemplate your business or your personal brand. What components resonate with your customers? If you don’t know, then ask them.
The world is full of noise. Stop clawing your way to the bottom. It’s just plain lazy to publish messages that everyone’s seen or heard 100 times before. For instance, if your business is “Family owned and operated since…” then don’t tell people, show people. Illustrate it in the most creative ways you can possibly come up with.
As the bottom gets more and more crowded, it’s harder than ever to be more short-sighted than everyone else. If you’re going to need to work that hard at it, you might as well put the effort into racing to the top instead.

Content Marketing Tips to Avoid Blending In

1. First, stop broadcasting messages that no one cares about

Social Media and Social ads are designed to connect you with those most likely to buy from. Broadcasting messages that aren’t relevant to your target customers or to “everyone” is a waste of time and money. What’s more, you can damage yourself and your brand by publishing annoying updates.

2. Broadcast Your Brand “Personality” Instead.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” ~Simon Sinek
There are 3 things that no one can ever take away from you:
  • Your Name
  • Your Image
  • Your Knowledge & Expertise
Leverage your assets. Creatively show off your company and the people that work hard every day to keep the business running.
There’s so much content on the web now that getting attention has become very difficult. Find ways to differentiate yourself. Whether you’re a salesperson, an entrepreneur or a business, getting and staying relevant with your target customer is crucial to your success.

3. Create Remarkable Experiences for Your Customer

Your customer already has a deep, cross-functional understanding of what a great experience is. It’s the leadership’s job to make sure products and services are designed to give the customer a reason to talk positively about your brand.

4. Modernize Your Operations to Encourage and Inspire Content Creation

Employees are the one of our greatest assets but we often fail to empower them to talk in Social Media. This is a big mistake; you’re overlooking one of the greatest ways to build trust in your brand. Instead of having policies that say no, teach them, encourage them to recognize opportunities to create content. Employees are a wealth of information. Tap into their expertise and inspire them to contribute.

5. Exude Trust: Make Your Employees the Stars

The public wants to hear directly from employees as ambassadors for the company who can attest to its integrity, the quality and relevance of products and services offered and the operational strength of the company, including its leadership. 
Edelman Trust Barometer 2014: “Employees are considered the most trusted source across most clusters of trust attributes, especially among those attributes grouped under engagement (50%) and integrity (37%).”
Engagement and integrity are keys to building trust and by extension, relevance. Content published around employee contributions demonstrates that the company:
  • Is ethical
  • Listens to customers
  • Treats employees well
  • Customers before profits
  • Acts responsibly in a crisis
  • Transparent and open
  • Communicates often

6. Leverage the Heck Out of the Tools Available

Successful content marketing takes a lot of time, skill, effort and budget. With respect to your time element, make good use out of tools to help you automize some of your duties:
  • Post Planner.  This Facebook app will save you time and relieve anxiety. It’s got a powerhouse post scheduler and viral content suggestions to increase engagement.
  • Hootsuite. A great app to schedule and manage content for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ Business Pages.
  • Canva. Like me, you may consider Photoshop just way too complicated. Canva will help you create striking images (with text) without any of the trouble of Photoshop…and it’s free. You can upload your own images or purchase images for $1.
  • WordPress (self-hosted). The ultimate platform in content publishing. It’s truly the best for websites and blogs. Note: There’s an automotive-retail-specific solution called For car salespeople who want to blog, there’s 
These content marketing tips will help you differentiate yourself and your business. As humans, we crave to be relevant to those that matter to us. Take these actions to capitalize on your craving. Attract attention and avoid blending in!
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Friday, 26 December 2014

Top 10 Tips for Improving Website Conversions and Lead Generation for 2015

Is one of your goals for 2015 to improve website conversions and generate more leads for your business online? Don’t rely on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) alone. Here are our top 10 conversion rate optimization tips to help you achieve success:

1. Invest in quality content.

In a world inundated 24 hours a day, seven days a week by a constant babble on the internet and social media it pays to offer a distinctive voice that will appeal to your target demographic. Not only should quality wordsmithing draw traffic and build readership, it should include SEO keywords in the body as well as in the snappy headline that generates interest. 

There are many built-in and/or free search engine optimization (SEO) tools available now so there is no excuse not to have complete and optimized meta titles, meta tags, and meta descriptions. 

As important as SEO is for the search engines, well written, meaningful copy about your product or services in a tone that resonates with your target audience is key for attracting human interest. Know how relationship books stress being a good listener? 

Use your content to build good relationships with existing and potential clients by being mindful of their questions and concerns raised in comments or any feedback. Use this to generate topics that will answer commonly asked questions and anticipate customer need.

2. Invest in quality visual elements.

You know that old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words? Make those visuals count by using professional photographs to showcase your products or services. 

Poor quality photographs, pixelated images, amateur video, or obvious stock photos simply don’t motivate purchases the way professional photographs do. Again, you need to impress the human eye with photographs but remember that you also need to optimize photos for the non-human search engines. 

Further, since Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm update, optimized images and videos are ranked higher in search than plain-text. That means great visual elements can please both your human audience and search engines so an investment in the creative components of your online marketing activity is worthwhile.

3. Be responsive.

Engaging with your clients and potential clients builds relationship, and when social media marketing and interaction is managed effectively it is a great way to generate interest in your product or service among qualified leads. 

Monitor social media and deal with questions, requests, and comments promptly and professionally -- always mindful that how interactions are managed may persuade (or dissuade) people to do business with you. 

Ensure that icons and social sharing buttons are visible and encourage visitors to your site to share, perhaps upon completing a purchase or filling out a contact form like some large brands do in the hopes happy customers will want to share what they’ve just bought with their friends and family.

4. Anticipate need with your contact form.

Tailor your site’s contact form to suit the most common reasons visitors would want to contact you. It should be intuitive to fill out and reassure visitors that they have found the right forum to contact your business. 

The language ideally should confirm the expectation: “Please let us know if you would like to arrange for a free consultation” or “Sign up for our webinar.” If you say that you will respond the same day or reply within two business days be careful to follow through. 

Contact forms typically increase conversion rates when they are featured on all website pages or easy to navigate to from anywhere on your site. Analytics will help to track conversion success rates. 

5. Think beyond the desktop.

The reality is that most people now surf the web using handheld devices like tablets or smartphones, which means the most successful websites are designed with mobile functionality in mind (not a separate mobile-specific app -- that’s outdated now!). 

If your website doesn’t work for tablets or smartphones expect frustrated visitors to bounce from your pages to look elsewhere. Responsive designs for websites work no matter which device is used and keep browsers happy. 

That’s not all! Google has also made mobile optimization a visible search advantage, which means having a responsive website design is even more important now.

6. No one should have to ask for directions.

Don’t make visitors on the information highway feel lost, confused, and frustrated when they visit your site. Clear navigation encourages browsing and keeps visitors on your site rather than looking for other options online. 

Strive for clarity and simple navigation with every webpage easily accessed via the homepage. Ensure your most important and most-sought after information is as they used to say in the heyday of newspapers above the fold. 

In other words, the biggest news goes under the banner headline at the top because that is where people will look first.

7. Make it easy.

Visitors to your website appreciate finding what they want quickly. Expedite customer queries with a reliable site search tool that will leverage the keyword data from your pages to optimize results. 

Fast load times are very important because frustrated visitors will give up and exit out to look elsewhere. Test every form and link yourself and have others try and provide feedback so you can fix any trouble spots before they irk potential clients.

8. Generate goodwill with valuable free downloads.

Packaging informative content in a free e-book or PDF handout are attractive to visitors, plus you can use these offers to motivate people to sign up for your newsletter or email campaigns. 

Sell the benefits of the content you’re offering and incorporate any rave reviews or expert endorsements you may have. Keep visitors on your website by ensuring any downloadable information opens in a new tab or pop-up so they don’t click away from your page.

9. Publish frequently and cross-promote.

Regularly sharing new and useful information and insightful commentary keeps people interested and encourages return visits to your site. Use your other social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook) to market your new blog posts with an integrated approach. 

Don’t stop there! Promote your business and social media sites in your email signature line and newsletters. Read more tips for content marketing here.

10 . Analyze conversion rates.

There are fantastic analytics tools available that take all the guesswork out of what works and what doesn’t so you can quickly modify and make changes to maximize success. 

When you want to determine the ratio of visitors who complete a desired action -- whether that is purchasing a product or signing up for a newsletter or some other action -- there are reliable methods to track and interpret website analytics. 

There is even software that allows you to test which elements generate the most interest and convert visitors to customers. It is possible to run an A/B split-test, which lets some visitors see option A while the others see option B so that you can then determine which option attracted the most customers. 

Another possibility is multivariate testing, which allows for many such comparative tests to run at the same time.
Use your time and resources wisely and reap the benefits from establishing your business as one that is easy to work with online and a trusted source for information and ideas.
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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

10 Quick Tips About Marketing Automation

Well, the UK based Aberdeen Group suggests that companies, big or small, that use marketing automation tools, have an increase of 451% in leads generated for business!
Astounding isn’t it? In terms of money and returns? Well read on…………
Just like Hollywood taps into the burgeoning goods and paraphernalia market riding high on the success of PR and ad campaigns of movie stars and their films with social media and showy marketing, small and medium businesses resort to marketing automation tools to turn every move into an opportunity.
Everyone wants to rake in the cash like Alibaba or Amazon, but how many really do?
What ARE marketing automation tools?
As a sales manager or a business development guy, you could jump into marketing automation tools that streamline the workflow of your business and allow for an efficient task and lead generation.
Some smart moves in using marketing automation tools, especially these quick 10, can go a long way in reaping profits:

1. Know the hand that feeds the mouth: 
Sending marketing campaigns to businesses and customers through automation software is common. But don’t brood over lead generation to the extent of spamming mailboxes of random people! Research shows, marketing automation strategy investments fail when companies try to automate the delivery of product and business emails without even engaging with the recipient. You cannot implement an email automation program without first identifying the audience. This will not impact revenues in the long run and lead to bad press.
2. Step in where automation steps out:

To be successful in using marketing collaterals for inbound marketing tools, you need to think! And yes that needs to be hard! A solid understanding of your sales funnel is necessary. Ask your sales guy to do some good research when to convert a marketing qualified lead (MQL) to a sales qualified lead (SQL).
3. It’s not always about money honey!

Stop focussing on sales and returns only. What is even more important for the long run is providing credibility about your product and stand out. Educating clients is important. When you nurture an understanding with potential buyers, they will buy next time you make the pitch if not NOW!
4. Optimize and Strategise!

Setting up an automated workflow is half the battle won. You should be a good tester too. Successful marketers know how to continuously better themselves to retain great conversion rates.
5. Response Metrics, did you say?

Don’t just look at immediate sales numbers. They never tell the entire story. In fact, focus on Key 
Performance Indicators (KPI) that impact conversion rates, MQL to SQL, cost per leads etc. The returns on your software can be better measured once you do this!
6. Connect all the dots!

When you automate using marketing collaterals for inbound marketing tools, make sure you connect all processes of your business. Aligning all parts of a business is must. In short, connect the dots to make the straightest possible line of business!
7. One at a time!

When you use marketing automated tools, make sure you take one department at a time. Touch all functions of your business but be careful and systematic in your approach.
8. Clean up your CRM!

What is of paramount importance is to Customer Relationship Management systems. These need sustained guidance and careful assimilation into the automation mode.

9. Start with a clean slate!

You should make sure all data is secure and clean when you run a marketing automation system. Your business will only yield results if you do so.
10. Stay inclusive and stay focussed! 
Finally, the key to bag the best returns in business is to stay right on the automation track and not lose sight of the bigger dream. It may not be easy and profitable from the word go, but never lose the broader aim. 

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