Archive of ‘Online Lead Generation’ category
*The original article can be found in ASPE’s ROI November/December Newsletter. Interested in more articles like this one? View the most current newsletter here.*
There are many reasons to create and maintain a corporate blog, one of the top being to generate quality leads on a regular basis. The more leads you receive from your blog the more inclined you will be to stick with your strategy well into the future.
Before we go any further, here is something you need to know: Regardless of what you do, there is no way to guarantee that every blog post will generate at least one lead. When it comes down to it, there will be posts that surpass your expectations as well as those that fall flat.
In the event that your blog posts are not generating leads, it is time to take a strong look at your strategy. Which changes can you make to ensure more success down the road? You can only answer this question after reviewing your strategy, including what has and has not been yielding results.
In many cases, a few simple changes here and there are enough to take your blog from ordinary to extraordinary. Below are several of the best ideas to consider.
Get In-Depth with your Blog Posts
Are you stuck in the past, thinking that a couple hundred words will be enough to attract people to your blog?
Every post doesn’t have to be a novel. That being said, you don’t want to consistently come up short in terms of the depth of your posts.
Consider reviewing the last few months of your blog posts, taking a strong look at how many words each one consists of. What is the average?
Once you have this number, you can adjust your word count upwards as you move forward. After another month, calculate both your new word count average as well as the number of leads generated. Do you see a difference?
Tip: longer is not always better. Don’t write to hit a specific word count. Instead, write with quality and depth in mind.
Target the Right Audience
If you don’t know who you are targeting, writing any blog post, regardless of the topic, is going to be a challenge.
Are you attempting to connect with consumers? Are you looking to reach other businesses? You must know your target audience inside and out. This will allow you to alter your content in the appropriate manner in hopes of generating a better response.
If you are struggling to identify your audience, you can do a couple of things. First off, examine other blogs in your industry. This may be all you need in order to get a better idea of the direction you should take your blog. Additionally, don’t shy away from asking your readers for feedback. You can learn a lot about your blog’s audience by the comments your posts receive and the emails that arrive in your inbox.
Share Something Unique
Regardless of your industry, it is likely that there are many others blogging about the same topics. Are you going to rehash the same ideas time and time again? Or are you going to take a unique stance, giving your readers something to get excited about?
If your blog content does nothing more than mirror the rest of the industry, you should not expect to generate a large number of leads. Take a unique viewpoint on your topic, as this is the best way to generate interest and prove yourself.
The only way to guarantee that you are saying something unique is to interject your personality and opinions into each post. If nothing else, this is enough to differentiate your blog from the rest of the pack. Let your voice shine through.
Market your Blog
Wouldn’t it be nice if every blog post you wrote generated thousands upon thousands of page views without you doing any work? While this may be reality at some point in the future, most people find that they have to market their content.
You can do this in many ways. From sharing on social media to pushing newsletter readers back to your blog, get as creative as possible.
Tip: track your marketing strategy so you know what is and is not generating traffic. This will allow you to adjust your approach, making the best use of your time and resources.
Answer these Questions
Now that you are aware of some of the changes you can make to generate more leads from your blog, it is time to tweak your strategy. As you begin doing so, here are some of the questions you should address:
- Which types of blog posts have generated the best response in the past?
- Which types of blog posts are useful for reasons others than generating leads?
- Have you implemented a simple way for people to contact you after reading your blog posts?
- Are you charting every aspect of each blog post, from the content length to the marketing to the time and day of publication?
- Are you willing to make changes, even if it means turning your blog strategy upside down as you search for the right answers?
It is safe to assume that you have many reasons for creating and maintaining a corporate blog. If you are going to put time into this part of your business, you might as well do your best to generate high quality leads as often as possible.
If this is something you have struggled with in the past, don’t be afraid to change your approach and try new things in the future.
By implementing some or all of the changes detailed above, your blog could turn into a lead generation machine. As a result, you could find yourself swimming in more business than you ever imagined possible.
5 Copywriting Tips for Marketers
Most of your results online depend on how you communicate your value to your potential clients. You want your words to be as effective as possible. Users will not give you a second chance once they form a mental image of what you are and what you can offer them. This is a short guide to help you navigate the sea of copywriting and make sure your online copy converts and grows your business.
Master the basics of copywriting
Some people think it’s just “words.” They assume everything depends on the actual product or service you have, and copy doesn’t matter. This is just wrong. If you have not found the time to study copywriting, here are a few basic concepts for your consideration.
Know your audience: It is impossible to write effective copy if you don’t know the audience you want to reach. As famous copywriter David Ogilvy said, “Research should be the most time consuming task of a writer.” It’s essential that writers discover who their audi¬ence is. How do they describe the type of product or service you offer? How do they choose what to buy? What do and don’t they care about? And, most importantly, how does your product or ser¬vice benefit them?
Compelling headlines: How do you capture the attention of your audience? Your elevator pitch moment is your headline. Clarity wins over creativity: What do you offer? Why should I care? What’s in it for me? Keep it short. Keep it simple. Describe, don’t overthink. The goal is to keep people interested and have them read more. One word can make the difference, like the Movexa headline A/B test which improved sales by 89% when the added one word, “supplement,” in the headline.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP): You have heard you need to be unique in order to succeed in business. The USP is a way to explain it to your audience, and can be crafted answering three simple ques¬tions: What is it? Who is it for? How does it help?
Persuasive writing: Your copy will convert much better if you pay attention to the science of persuasion. Research in psychology shows there are certain patterns that will increase the chances of selling with your words, namely a focus on benefits, price dis-counts, limited time offers, money-back guarantees, testimonials and bonus products.
One of the most common mistakes in copywriting is not being clear enough about the benefits of what we are selling. Some people, in fact, describe features rather than benefits. They talk about the dishwasher, the consulting service, a laptop without actually explaining how it will benefit people.
If you want your copy to be persuasive, you might want to think about these questions and translate your answers into actual copy:
How will this help people save money and time?
How will this make them feel?
What will this make them think?
What specific results will it produce?
Why will it over-deliver?
Why should people tell their friends about it?
Just to make things clear, if you are writing about a music device, you may consider features like GB of memory, USB connection and avail¬able colors. But the real benefits for this product may be comfortable listening, stylish look and ease of use.
The right copy length
Sometimes your copy is good, but it is not producing the results you expect. You think there must be something wrong in what you wrote, but that is not the case. You wrote compelling content, explained the benefits of your product and crafted an irresistible offer. What’s wrong?
Quite simply, it’s possible your copy doesn’t have the right length. Depending on the situation, users need different amounts of informa¬tion in order to make a decision. In order to decide what the right length is for your copy, there are certain elements you should take into account:
Your industry: a good starting point is assessing your competitors. What’s the standard for your industry/type of product? Take a look at your most successful competitor and get an idea. You should consider both the length of the landing page or sales letter itself and the ratio when combined with the amount of call to actions (CTAs). Infoproducts, for example, tend to perform well with a high copy to CTA ratio.
The commitment: how big is the commitment on the user’s end? Are you promoting a free web seminar or a $997 course? Are you asking for somebody’s name and email or much more information? The big¬ger the commitment, the longer your copy should be to address con¬cerns and explain benefits.
The length to call to action ratio: Are you familiar with the way most websites display download and order buttons? Not just once in the page, but several times, to make sure you get the chance to do the desired action at different stages. That’s fine, but one should not overdo it. Often there are too many CTAs, and removing some of them guarantees higher conversions.
Ask for feedback
Sometimes there’s not much we can do without input from others. Does your copy stand up to a review? Asking other people you trust might be much more effective than analyzing your own copy (expect to return the favor!) and will provide external insights from which you can benefit.
How should you do this? Asking only, “What do you think about it?” will not suffice. If you want to increase the chances of your copy converting, you should ask smart questions that are directly related to what copy needs to accomplish: keep the interest alive, explain and persuade.
Question #1: If you were a customer, would you read more?
Most people don’t realize the first trait of successful copy is that it makes you read, read, read. You don’t think you’re wasting your time as you feel the need to learn more about the subject. Start by asking a group of 5-10 people if they would actually read more after the first third of your copy.
Question #2: How would you change this?
General questions won’t cut it. “Do you like this headline?” “Yeah, pretty good”. Ask your people to suggest specific variations of your copy and why. This will teach invaluable lessons.
Question #3: What’s unbelievable, boring or confusing?
Copy Logic, a great handbook on copywriting, outlines a simple strat¬egy to reduce the risk of readers abandoning your copy once and for all. Just ask a few people to spot anything that sounds unbelievable, boring or confusing. In this way, you’ll be able to remove or fix the elements of your copy that are not producing the expected results, instantly increasing your conversions.
Technology can help
When it comes to testing your copy and refining it, technology can be really useful. Sometimes relying on what people think is not enough. You want real data that can immediately help you understand what’s going on so you can act accordingly.
A great tool for this purpose is a mouse tracking service like Crazy Egg or Mouseflow. How compelling is your copy? You’ll be able to find what percentage of users scroll down the page. Are people leaving the site at a certain point? There might be a reason.
Testing several versions of your copy along with other graphic ele¬ments on your page will give you a clear idea of what performs well and what doesn’t. Be creative and test different headlines to see what works best.
Is this overwhelming? If you want your copy to convert, you might need to step back and look at it with constructive criticism: What’s working? What’s not?
The good thing about copywriting in the digital age is that we have the chance to test it over and over. We cannot read people’s minds, but keeping in mind certain metrics will help us get better and better at writing for the audience.
Treat your copy as a product. The more time you spend with it, the faster it will improve and produce the results you expect and deserve.
After two years of class in B-school, one thing you learn is how much Academia likes to use 2×2 models (or similar models). Most of the time, these models are more of a way to give a simple representation to help with retention of a complicated or abstract concept, but sometimes they are actually helpful.
One I was recently shown looks at the idea of Customer Loyalty. While customer loyalty is one of the most studied and discussed topics, in day-to-day business we often neglect it. Most agree that customer retention is critical to business survival (and prosperity), but then we turn around and spend more time and investment in generating new leads and potential customers. To a fault, we tend to lump the world into past customers and people have not purchased. We take our past customers for granted and expect their business to just continue. Look at the cable industry for one. Anyone who has ever had cable will tell you that the industry rewards new customers and does whatever they can to hold their current customers hostage. But yet, while we scream and yell about this tactic, we too neglect our current customers in favor of winning new business. We devote entire departments and budgets to new businesses, but do we do the same for our current customers?
With that said, my challenge to you (the reader) is to take another look at your current customers? Who are the truly loyal? Who are you holding hostage? Who is about to escape?
Flight Risk of Your Customers
This post is not intended to make you better at customer retention. The goal here is to get you to reevaluate how you look at your customers to determine who is really loyal and what relationship you need to cultivate.
Below is a two-by-two model that I think presents an interestingly simple way to look at why and how some customers are loyal. It uses Customer Behavior and Attitude to get a deeper understanding of their Loyalty.
Loyals (blue): These are the simplest to understand. These people are your evangelists. They are extremely loyal in both their behavior and their attitude. They act as referrers and offer testimonials. You goal is to push more and more people into this box, but the question to ask yourself is, ‘How many of your customers really fall into this box?‘
Non-Loyals (yellow): These people are not disloyal. All people are loyal. They just aren’t loyal to you, hence the name non-loyal. They do not buy from you, so their loyalty behavior is low. They do not speak highly of you or refer others because their loyalties lie in other places. Your goal here should be to understand why these people don’t choose you? ‘Do your products not align with their needs? Does your core competency not align with what they want? Or are you neglecting a part of the market?’
Spurious Loyals (green): These are your highest flight risk. They are loyal in their behavior (repeatedly buy), but their attitude towards you is low. An extreme example of this is your cable provider. You renew your contract, but if there was a better option you could easily be lured away. Another example of this might be a fast food restaurant close to your office or home. ‘Do you go there as often as you do because you are loyal? Or do you go because of proximity/convenience?‘ The question to ask yourself is, ‘Is your customer doing business with you because they want to, or are they doing it begrudgingly?‘ The goal here is to understand why their attitude towards you is low because if a competitor identifies that first, you will quickly lose these customers that you probably currently count on. My guess is, you probably have a much larger percentage of your portfolio in this box then you think.
Latent Loyals (pink): These people have a very positive attitude towards you, but their behavior does not match. A prime example of this would be your luxury goods. There are people in this world who are extremely loyal to Porsche though they have never owned one. People believe in your product, but do they buy it? Price is not the only factor here though. They might believe your product is high-quality and great for others, but have a misalignment with their own particular needs. Understanding why these people have a positive attitude can help you better understand some of your issues with your other loyalty boxes, but the question you must ask yourself is, ‘Why are these people not buying? Do I really understand their needs?‘
So where do your customers lie?
What percentage of your past customers make up these different boxes?
What are you doing to understand their behavior?
What are you doing to understand their attitude?
The Differences Between a Lead and a Referral
I often hear the terms lead and referral used in the same context when, in fact, they are two very different things. Both are used to acquire new business. Yet one far outweighs the other in its effectiveness in getting closer to a sale. Entire marketing campaigns are built around finding new business using leads. Likewise, sales processes build in methods for finding new business using referrals. One method, leads, works off volume while the other, referrals, works off quality.
So what’s the difference between a lead and a referral and how should a company and, more importantly, a sales person take advantage of each? Additionally, why is it important to distinguish between the two? To begin with, a lead and a referral should be treated with different priorities since a referral is at least one step closer to the prospect than a lead. In other words, leads are strangers, referrals could be prospective customers. If a sales rep receives a lead, he shouldn’t treat it like a referral. And more importantly, if he receives a referral, he shouldn’t treat it like a lead because referrals have a higher priority than leads. Knowing the difference between the two is vital to knowing how each should be handled by a salesperson. (more…)
Marketing profiling is a fundamental skill critical for marketing success. Customers will quickly come for you with their torches and pitchforks if you don’t send them timely and relevant messages. But how are you supposed to know who to send what?
Whether electronic or print, television or radio, marketing messages must be based towards an engaged audience. Do you sell lipstick in the sports section of the paper? Do you sell Budweiser in Golf Digest? The perfect message/campaign is doomed to fail if it does not reach the right people. This web seminar debated between the traditional profiling strategies of ASPE’s President, David Mantica versus the “new school” digital profiling strategies of ASPE’s VP of Marketing, JT Moore. (more…)
TIP: Instead of grouping every field on one page, only ask for the necessary information for the conversion. Try adding any optional fields to the thank-you page.
Ever wonder how many fields really need to be in your conversion form? It really depends on what your conversion is. However, if you have fields that aren’t completely needed, but just nice to have, try implementing more fields on a secondary page. Case studies have shown that conversion rates increase 30 percent by just using the name and email fields (remove first name and last name, just use the field “name”).
Additionally, you may even have a thank-you page video, thanking the user and establishing a bit of additional rapport with the user for a product or service.
TIP: On your category pages of your e-commerce site, increase the size and the amount of images for a given product.
We are all attracted by aesthetically pleasing images. They get our attention, engage us, and put us at ease by reducing the tension involved with purchasing online. Many of us are so accustomed to purchasing online that we subconsciously battle this tension without knowing it. Internally we battle with ourselves to decide whether it is a justifiable purchase, but also whether the vendor is reputable, and whether our credit card info will be safe and secure. By using product images you quell some of this tension. You provide your potential customer with as much information as possible, show them any available options (color choices, sizes, etc.), and set them at ease.
For example…if you visit a site for the first time and are inundated with bright-colored sale graphics that announce ’10% Off’ and seizure-inducing, flashing ‘Click Here’ buttons, most likely you will not be able to click the back button fast enough. When shopping for a car, do you look at listings without pictures? What do you think when you see ‘Great Condition’ but no picture?
Product images help your potential customer understand exactly what they are getting. If they are wondering about a specific feature or aspect of your product and you can highlight it with a close-up shot, you are much more likely to ease their mind and win that conversion. For many consumer products, it has become the standard to offer 360-degree views of the product. Again, you are showing your potential customer exactly what they are purchasing…No Surprises. If you have an e-commerce site, make sure on your category page that you are showing images that clearly show the product, so people know exactly what they are clicking on and going to see next. If your widget comes in red and blue, show them that those options are available for that product and show them the both the blue widget and the red widget.
Images should be large enough to provide enough detail to set your potential customer’s mind at ease and answer any of their questions. Put yourself in their shoes and try to think of their points of objection. If you are squinting at the screen and not quite sure whether a specific feature has been done justice, then you haven’t. Just like everything in conversion optimization, it should be quick, concise, and clear. If there is any uncertainty you risk losing conversions.
In conclusion, images are your friend. Sorry to be cheesy, but they are ‘worth a thousand words.’ You can tell your potential so much more about your product, and what they are hopefully buying, in a group of images than you ever could with text. Images help you reduce tension for your potential customer, and help them along the path to conversion.
TIP: People don’t read landing pages, they scan them. Make sure that the first two sentences are short, straight to the point and without extra fluff. Also, use bullet points to highlight features and benefits of the product or service.
One study found that only 16% of people read word for word when they are online and another found that the average person only comprehends about 60% of what they read.
- Lists – Consider using lists for product features, whether they are radial check boxes, bullet points, arrows, etc. Be short, sweet and to the point with every line.
- Formatting – Try using bold, increasing fonts, capitalizing the first words of URL’s or brand names.
- Pictures – Use images wisely. They are the number 1 thing that draws the attention of the user, inversely they can also be the number 1 distraction.
- Space – don’t feel you have to fill up every inch of your screen – rather create spaces because they help to keep readers from feeling overwhelmed and again tend to draw readers eyes to what is inside such space.
Be sure your copy sells your offer when someone scans just the first three words of each bullet or paragraph. You may also consider using interactive elements like video or audio clips for users. This engages users who want more information about the product or service without making the page look overwhelming.
TIP: Even if you follow all of our tips to the letter, if you send the wrong traffic to a page it will have poor conversion rates.
Today’s post is inspired by a friend of mine that I had lunch with today. We were talking about marketing, branding, and email marketing. He started to tell me a story about a situation where he was trying to figure out why his email marketing campaigns had such low conversion rates. We talked about the landing pages and the goals, and there was nothing wrong with the model – it was for a free sign-up.
When running an email marketing campaign, if your conversions are low, make sure the integrity of the list you are using is good. That means, make sure the list that you use is clean and up-to-date. One way to do that is do a random sampling of the data itself. Your open rates should be around 5-10 percent. Any lower, you need to be analyzing the data, and the first thing you should start with is looking directly at the email addresses.
So, talking to my friend today, he said that’s exactly what he did. The reason he did this is because he was looking at the list and noticed an email that was one of his customers. He also happened to know that particular individual hadn’t worked there in 5 years. So, he took a couple more email addresses, looked them up in Linkedin, and also noticed that those people were no longer with the listed companies. He then decided to take a deeper look at 100 (of the couple thousand or so emails) on the list and found that 87 percent of them no longer existed. This was why his list was not converting. People were not clicking on his free sign-up because they were not getting the email or it was addressed to the wrong person.
In this case my friend had purchased this list of email addresses. Obviously he wasn’t very happy with that and called the higher-ups and got reimbursed, but was very shocked that the data wasn’t being scrubbed. We only recommend purchasing/renting email lists under certain circumstances and for particular types of offers. Purchased/rented email lists will typically have very low conversion rates, but in this case it was a free sign-up so it made sense. The low barrier of commitment yielded a higher likelihood of conversion.
Lesson learned: If your conversions aren’t happening, make sure the traffic going to your page is the right traffic. Our example above is one unique to email, but whether you are drawing traffic through email, pay-per-click, organic, direct mail…whatever, if the people coming to your page are not your target audience then odds are they will not convert no matter how good your page.