The Role Landing Pages Play In Inbound Marketing

optimizing-landing-pages-for-lead-generation-and-conversionWhat are Landing Pages?

A landing page is a web page that exists for no other reason than to capture a visitor’s information through a lead form in exchange for delivering some sort of offer. A good page will target a particular audience, such as readers of your blog, traffic from an email campaign or visitors who click on a pay-per-click ad.

From an Inbound Marketing standpoint, it’s important to build a unique landing page for each of the offers you create. Build landing pages to allow visitors to download your content offers (eBooks, whitepapers, webinars, etc.), or sign up for offers like free trials or demos of your product once they provide you with some of their contact information (i.e. name, title, business name, phone number, website, etc.). Remember, these pages are specifically created as a lead generation tool, so don’t forget to ask for the information you need to nurture the relationship along.

Why Landing Pages Are Important to Inbound Marketing?

Creating landing pages allows you to more effectively achieve your goal of converting a higher percentage of your visitors into leads. This is because landing pages make the process of receiving an offer much simpler for your visitors, since they don’t have to navigate your website to find the page they’re looking for.

Sending your visitors to a specific page for each offer also eliminates any confusion about what they must do to receive your offer, which keeps them from getting frustrated about not finding the form, or deciding that it’s not worth their time to figure out how to go about the process.

Thus, directing your visitors to a landing page — the exact page with the offer and the form they must complete to get it — makes it more likely that they will complete your form and convert into leads.

3 Rules for Landing Page Optimization

1. Minimize & simplify your landing page design

Every day, millions of websites all clamor for attention and your page design is one of three ingredients that will determine success. In fact, your inbound sales heavily rely on the simplicity and overall design of your offer page.

Despite the temptation to institute every bell and whistle into your design, best practices demonstrate that simplifying your landing page helps to convey your message, and more importantly, compels your visitor to learn more about you.

Unfortunately, far too many marketers go out of their way to create a site that looks like a walking billboard, ultimately turning away potential customers. In order to excite your audience, you must craft your landing page to tilt in their favor towards conversions – not overwhelm or confuse visitors to the point that they abandon your page.

2. Highlight one message

Too often, we tend to cram numerous messages onto a single page which only confuses the visitor. Too many messages take away that ‘must-have’ moment and opens the door to hesitation. Evaluate in advance what message you want to convey; this makes it easier to craft your content around the benefits your customer is looking for.

3. Remove added distractions

Contrary to what many people believe, external links, widgets, and a host of advertisements only cause distractions for your landing page. There’s a fine line between aesthetics and over-powering your audience with too many reasons to abandon your website. Edit your page design aggressively and smartly.

With those three rules in mind, it’s time to perform ‘the blink test’. That’s where you give your page a once-over to determine if you have successfully utilized your inbound marketing strategies, complimented by good optimization strategies.

You have less than 10 seconds, from the time your visitor lands on your offer page to make a great impression. If it’s not love at first sight, potential customers won’t stick around, learn more about your specific offering and volunteer their contact information in exchange for your offer. This mistake is so common that many marketers neglect to pick-up on these dire omissions, ultimately undermining all efforts.

Finally, before you give the green light for your site to go live, give your landing page design one final review to make sure it makes sense.

  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”] Have you addressed what’s most important to the reader?
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Will your audience understand the message you’re trying to convey?
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Does your design persuade or motivate the audience to follow your call to action?

Keep in mind end-users are the final judge of your design, and your response rate is a telltale sign of your accomplishment. If you’re not achieving your desired effect learn more about inbound marketing solutions that will place your website on auto-pilot.

Click the Button Below to Download our Landing Page Optimization for Lead Generation and Conversion eBook

Inbound Marketing and Branding Webinar

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Highlights from the Branding in the Inbound Age Webinar:

4:36 – What is the definition of Inbound Marketing?

Instead of the old outbound marketing methods (i.e. print ads, billboards, etc.), inbound marketing focuses on creating educational, relevant, compelling content for the right people (your Ideal Clients) in the right places (channels) at just the right times (lifecycle stages).

Inbound marketing is not a tactic, channel or technology. It’s a way to approach your marketing to capitalize on the way consumers make buying decisions today. Brands with an Inbound approach, understand that people value personalized, relevant content and connections – not interruptive messages – at every stage of the sales funnel.

Inbound marketing includes:

  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Lead generation and tracking with specific content, landing pages and calls to action
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Website optimization; both on-page and off-page SEO
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Email marketing
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Social media marketing
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Lastly, analytics is a big part of Inbound Marketing. If it can’t be measured, we’ll never know what impact a particular activity had on the business

8:06 – Why is Inbound Marketing so important for branding today?

There’s no doubt that the Internet has profoundly transformed the way we as consumers research and shop for products and services.

Ten years ago, companies reached their consumers through trade shows, print advertising, and other traditional marketing methods. Today, consumers start their shopping experience by looking on the Internet, search engines, the blogosphere, and social media sites. We conduct billions of Internet searches each month, download case studies and eBooks, opt into email newsletters, watch online videos, listen to podcasts, follow brands on social networks, join online communities, post reviews and read blogs.

There is a fundamental shift happening with consumer behavior called Selective Consumption – consumers are choosing when and where to interact with brands and we’re getting really good at avoiding traditional marketing.

Smart businesses who understand this fundamental shift in consumer behavior towards selective consumption are adding and integrating content, search, social, mobile, local, PR, email marketing, digital advertising and analytics into their overall marketing mix. They have switched their focus from interruption to getting found!

15:55 – What is a brand?

28:06 – Four steps to branding in the Inbound Age

  1. Create – In the inbound age, content is your brand online. It’s your salesperson, your marketing department; it’s your story, and every piece of content you publish reflects on, and defines, your brand. In the inbound age… Great content = great brand. Boring content = boring brand.At the heart of branding in the inbound age is your ability to develop a publisher mindset and culture at your company. Instead of thinking you need to put information in your audience’s lap, create interesting information that draws your audience in.
  2. Optimize – Google decides whether your content will rank well in search engines. In the inbound age, remarkable, search-engine optimized content gives your content its best chance of ranking well in Google.By understanding your keywords and implementing on-page search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, you can optimize your website for search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. By creating and optimizing content specifically for your ideal clients, you create a more targeted experience that moves them along your sales process.
  3. Promote – Social media plays a critical role in branding in the inbound age because it provides an outlet for all the great content you’re creating.A social presence for your brand and your client’s brands is essential in the inbound age. But not every social channel is right for every brand. You’ll need to sort through what’s out there to see what’s best – particularly for your target persona and any new audiences you’re working to reach in the future.
    Publish ALL of your content. This can be in the form of a blog, podcast, videos, photos, presentations, eBooks or news releases.
  4. Covert and Analyze – Include a call to action on the bottom of your blog posts. Calls to action are offers that prompt people to fill out a form on a landing page, which converts a visitor into a lead.
    Calls to action are critical to lead generation.

52:06 – Inbound Metrics

Here are some specific metrics you can measure for individual aspects of your branding efforts:

  • Determine which keywords result in the most click-through to your landing pages landing pages
  • See what blog content drives the most comments, social shares and inbound links. While leads are great, the content that is remarked upon and shared the most is often an indicator of inbound brand success
  • Find out which email content drives the most forwards and conversions and to what segment of your list that content goes so you can better align email campaigns with the content that elevates your brand
  • Determine the correlation between the number of Likes you generate for your Facebook page during a given campaign, and your sales results for the same period
  • Find the type of social media content which results in the most engagement and track whether that engagement leads to revenue-driving behavior in the future and at what rate

54:30 – Key questions for branding in the Inbound Age

  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Am I regularly creating new, share-worthy content?
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Am I optimizing my content for search and social media?
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Am I promoting my content in social media conversations?
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Am I converting as many visitors into leads and sales as I can?

56:26 – Free Inbound Marketing assessment offer

Learn more about Inbound Marketing and it’s impact on your business. Click the image below to download The Essential ABC’s of Inbound Marketing eBook today.

Download the ABC's of Inbound Marketing here!

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4 Questions to Ask Your SEO Agency

Local SEO (search engine optimization) is fundamentally different than traditional SEO. Although they have similar goals, the tactics and measurement are fundamentally different, including the sites you are optimizing for; Google and Bing for traditional, and Google, Bing, Yelp, Yahoo, YP, etc. for local SEO.

With 7.5 billion local searches a month and local online marketing growing at 18% year over year to over $40 billion, many Toledo SEO agencies charge big dollars. Often however their background is more in advertising, pay per click and traditional search, leading to mixed results for clients.

Here are the questions you should ask to see if your digital agency understands the difference between local search engine marketing and traditional.

1. What’s Your Long Term Strategy for Citation Building and Management?

Below are some sub-questions to ask:

What information will I be able to submit on each site?

Most services just allow you to update name, address, phone number and website. That’s better than nothing, but if you care about your brand on Yelp, Yahoo, CitySearch, Google+ Local, etc. you better make sure to be able to add descriptions, photos, videos and special offers. We have seen that adding rich data to listings increase conversion 5-10x and helps you to show up in more searches.

Which local directories and sites will you submit to?

Citations, listings on directories and throughout the web with your correct name, address, phone and website URL are crucial. On the basic side, you need the usual suspects, Google+ Local, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, CitySearch, YP etc., but citations are like link building in traditional search, the more high-quality ones the better.

There are hundreds of second-tier directories if not more – and that’s for each of your locations. Continue to build out basic citations over time, especially on truly local and industry specific sites that Google+ Local cares about.

How long will it take and how quickly can I make changes?

If your digital agency uses data feed submission services like Localeze, UBL, Acxiom or Infogroup, it could take months and then it’s a fingers crossed local approach. A better approach is to have a direct API connection with rich brand messaging into the major ones where you care about your brand presence and manually claim the others so you have control to make changes if necessary on secondary sites.

Will I have premium, claimed or owner verified accounts at the directories?

Having owner verified or premium accounts is best on most sites, because they are more likely to come up on search and they offer more content to put on them (description, photos, etc.). But managing them individually can be a nightmare without the right infrastructure. What’s their long-term management plan if they do claim or verify them?

2. What Changes Are Needed for My Website and Existing Strategy?

There are a lot of different changes that we recommend. The basics include updating metatags with location keywords, XML schema updates and individually optimized pages for each location.

Link building should include location keywords and as an advanced technique, many local agencies encourage building links to your business profiles on other sites so they rank better on local searches and you dominate the page. Make sure your agency has a complete answer and implementation game plan.

3. Do I Have to Do Anything Different on Social Media and Review Sites?

Social signals like reviews will become even more important than they already are. You should have an online reputation management strategy to get more on Google+ Local and Yelp. There is data that shows CitySearch reviews are also impactful. Gather reviews, leverage your existing social media followings on Facebook and Twitter and make an honest plea for help. You’d be surprised what type of response rates you will get from audiences already invested in your success.

Secondly, you can’t ignore Facebook. One study pegged Facebook location pages as 11% of local searches. Facebook is definitely relevant, especially as a citation signal to Google+ Local.

Make sure all your Facebook location pages are claimed and optimized and leverage those point audiences in aggregate to increase your social media reach and growth.

4. How Will You Measure Progress and Results?

Peter Drucker famously proclaimed, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Because so many of local consumer brand interactions occur off site (on a Google+ Local or Yelp profile as an example), your existing website analytics infrastructure will not be sufficient to gauge success. Of course, you can look at referral visits from Yelp as an example, but recognize that most people directly call or go to a business from the Yelp profile rather than go to your website to get more information.

Here is a list of items that you should demand from your digital agency in order to measure and understand success from a corporate level down to a location level:

  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Google+ Local rankings improvements for each location according to a set of industry keywords you define and cross referenced by zip, neighborhood (for dense urban areas) and city.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Inventory of all directory listings, citations & links to them
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Actions taken on Google+ Local (calls, directions, clicks)
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Directory performance (search impressions, profile reads, clicks to special offers)
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Location based search term referrals to your website (although Google is working hard to hide search terms from you and most brand interactions occur offsite)
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Online reputation across directory sites (# of reviews, ratings, etc.)

Local SEO by the Numbers

  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]87% of people who search for a local business calls or goes within 24 hours
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]83% of local searches have Google’s map on it powered by Google+ Local
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]70% of Google+ Local pages are unclaimed
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Local is 16-20 times more cost effective than traditional

Click to Download 5 Steps to Local Search
eBook written by our Partner, LocalVox

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How to Use Blogging for Inbound Marketing Success

What if you were a fly on a wall? If you could listen in on conversations and pick up all the pertinent information leading to consumer wants and needs; that would go far in solving your biggest stumbling blocks, right?

Aaah – the power of blogging. Not only do you get to converse with your like-minded audience but you get to position yourself as a subject-matter expert, take the pulse of your market and even gather feedback on ideas.

While blogging is not new, it’s still one of the best content marketing tools for inbound marketing success. Blogging is inexpensive and a great tool to get your business found when someone is actively searching for what you have to offer.

Blogs can increase your ability to create growth. And you can take your communication a step further by turning this venture into a two-way dialogue that helps you cut costs and define your strategies. Believe me. If you haven’t incorporated blogging into your business plan, you’re missing a huge opportunity to: generate overall awareness for your business, drive traffic to your website, position yourself as a subject-matter expert, and educate and help prospects and clients alike.

Are you aware that there are almost 200 million active blogs in existence? Blogs create a continuous daily conversation; seven days a week, 24 hours a day people are doing keyword searches and consuming the content they find on blogs. What if part of that conversation was about you and your company?

Don’t worry. Blogging is an opportunity for you to get leverage. When you hear what your customers like or dislike, you’re able to make changes instantly based on that information.

But here’s the challenge – keeping up your blogging responsibilities. Blogging can undoubtedly get you noticed but your audience will expect to hear new exciting things from you. Blogging opens up a door but it’s on you to keep that door open.

Blog Content that Engages Your Audience

Studies confirm that over 90% of buyers rely on the Internet to start their buying process. Nearly 70% use search engines to locate information first and then on to visit websites.

How often do you create reasons for visitors to return to your website? Refreshed free information that relate to your product or service is a great way to keep visitors coming back for more, for example if your site focuses on kitchen cabinets, consider offering free advice on how to properly care for your kitchen cabinets or the best method for installing cabinets in a weekend for those looking for “do-it-yourself” information.

Frequently, we refrain from giving away free information for fear the visitor won’t return, but this is just the opposite. Your audience will appreciate you trying to help them.

Optimize Content to Maximize Website Traffic

According to on-page search engine optimization best practices, the more keywords you have in your site the higher it will be ranked. From now on when writing or updating content for your site make sure to include at least one of your top 10 keywords in every page title, headline and paragraph.

  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Many people simply write the name of their site on a title tag and then use the same tag for every page – this is a missed opportunity to gain traffic with SEO techniques, as title tags are a great way to use keywords. Create a simple page description that uses one or more of your most popular keywords.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Another key advantage to title tags is dropping “the” as the first word on your page. If you drop “the” it will cause your site to appear higher in the alphabetical index. If your company is called The Arithmetic Store, dropping the will make a big difference for you.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]The page description is a type of Meta tag that you can insert into the code of each page. This 250 character blub can be used to describe your site and another great opportunity to use your keywords. The page description is another often-overlooked opportunity to promote your site and gain traffic with SEO techniques.

Lastly, consumers today are seeking results and they’ll become loyal followers if you can offer a solution to their problem or answer to their question. Simply write interesting and engaging blog content; content that an audience finds compelling and valuable, and you’ll easily create word of mouth awareness around your products and services.

Click the Button Below to Download An Introduction to Business Blogging eBook

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5 Building Blocks for Succeeding with Internet Marketing

The most compelling reason for utilizing an internet marketing campaign to grow your business is the 100 billion online searches every month just on Google. Now, that’s the reason but we’re often quizzed on how to carve a piece of that pie. Here are 5 building blocks to help you achieve Google glory.

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing is the online pulse to your business. In fact, when it comes to using the internet to grow a business, content marketing is a no-fail technique.

Of course, content marketing includes well-written valuable content, and it also includes enticing blogs, free eBooks, white papers, and a variety of other vehicles. The key is to engage your audience and relate to them on a level that promotes action.

The bottom line is: Provide valuable information, and see which approach works best for your business.

2. Use Google+ to Leapfrog the Search Engine

What if you could land on Google’s first page and develop your credibility within weeks, opposed to months? Google Authorship is an internet marketing solution, designed to allow authors to link their profiles with their content.

According to a research study, on click through rates, Google+ has the potential of increasing your traffic by150%. As an added incentive, if you have a verified identity with Google+, and your content provides real value, Google might be tempted to give your pages a visibility boost.

3. Make LinkedIn Your Social Preference

There are a myriad of social media tools you could use but choosing appropriately could be the difference in your traffic patterns.

So Why Include LinkedIn in your Internet Marketing Arsenal? They have a growing audience of 300 million using the internet to grow a business. The majority are between 26-34 years old, followed by A35-44; and, it’s the number one B2B social networking vehicle.

LinkedIn is also the largest business networking site — you can find customers, vendors, partners, or suppliers, all in one place. LinkedIn requires some time to master and build a solid following, but it’s definitely a productive approach to get visibility. What’s more, you spend zero marketing dollars to create a LinkedIn account and begin making connections.

4. Blogging

Do you realize consumers are impacted more by the conversations found online than any other media? Blogs have become one of the most effective methods of internet marketing, thus enabling a business and customers to communicate on a more personal level.

The simplest approach to blogging is to solve a problem. Find something to say that’s unique and enticing and captures everyone’s attention. Expert information, trade secrets and insight into trends are a great approach. Consumers today are seeking results and they’ll become loyal followers if you can provide solutions to their troubles. Blogs that can offer valuable solutions will soon have a loyal audience.

5. Why Video Marketing? Because People are Visual

It’s hard to argue with results — that’s why video marketing has gained such a massive following. You’re probably asking yourself “how can a video benefit my type of product or service?” Today’s modern consumer uses the internet for every purpose, and there’s an audience waiting for you to solve their problem

Still need a reason to include YouTube in your marketing arsenal?

1 billion unique YouTube visitors per month is one the best reasons for using the internet to grow a business. Furthermore, if you can blog about it, you can create videos about it. Don’t overlook the connection between YouTube and Google. Since Google owns YouTube you can expect an instant boost to your organic search engine results.

Need more help marketing on the Web?

Download our free eBook – The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Internet Marketing

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Branding in the Inbound Age

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72 percent of consumers seek information online, making inbound marketing one of today’s single greatest branding technique. Long gone are the days we broadcast clever messages and snappy advertorials, and then go hunt for customers. The internet helped build a wall of resistance against those forms of outbound lead generation for today’s practical methods of using Google’s referral engine.

Effective communication is essential to attracting your target audience and branding your business. Take a look at these top 5 Inbound Marketing Methods.

1. Educate Your Customers: Generating Traffic with Article Marketing

Article marketing is not just a buzzword. It’s an important strategy and the number one inbound marketing method for every industry. Authentic, valuable content that educates the consumer is the new currency for online marketing. Customers seek no-strings-attached information that allows them to break down resistance to your messages and demonstrate your expertise in the business.

2. Talk with them, not at them: Using Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr are just a few of the power tools that have redefined networking. Millions of consumers share experiences everyday on hundreds of social media sites. Thanks to social networking, companies have the ability to engage with customers, listen to what they really want and leverage their target audience. Keep in mind consumers don’t just use social media sites to learn the latest news, they trust in what they hear.

3. Show and Tell: YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion

Videos are great traffic-generating tools and offering your audience ‘show and tell’ helps you build trust and give a boost to your creditability. Consumers have become very visual and rely on constant stimulation. Videos offer a myriad of strategies to reel your target audience in, and when used correctly you’ll position your company as an authority in your industry.

4. Stimulate the crowd visually: Building Info-graphics

The average time a visitor remains on a website is 20 seconds, but pictures can hold a crowds attention much longer. Pictures have changed the landscape of branding, especially for start-ups. The constant tweeting, poking and connecting shortened our attention span. Generally, consumers don’t read, they scan pages, but info-graphics visually stimulate the audience with colors, patterns and reasoning that are easier to understand. The key is to create compelling messages that entice the visitor to become paid clients.

5. Word-of-mouth buzz: Reviews

Remember the days of spending a little time at the barbershop and hair salon to measure the pulse of the neighborhood and learn the latest scoop? Word of mouth buzz in the form of digital reviews has become a powerful method of branding today. Listening to the wants and needs of your customers has always been the best idea, but today you can make a difference in real-time and solve problems publicly. This may sound like a gamble, however just about every company today is at the mercy of consumer reviews. Perhaps this is because 80% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations, while a mere 12% trust advertisements. Any good salesman will tell you the benefits of capitalizing on word-of-mouth opportunities.

There are a host of tactics, strategies and snack-sized ideas that are simple to execute and suitable for any business. Inbound marketing for every industry are practical methods of generating tons of traffic, quickly, simply at very little cost.

Are you harnessing the power of Inbound Marketing for your business? Join
Patrick Giammarco July 23 for his free Branding in the Inbound Age Webinar.

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