How to Fix Your Call To Action

______________image.jpg

How to Fix Your Call To Action

Your call to action, or CTA, is easily one of the most important parts of your website. It’s where you find new leads and convince your audience you offer something worth exploring. Whether your CTA invites people to sign up for a newsletter or download your latest ebook, all CTAs are not created the same. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when developing this critical part of the website.

The words

The words on your CTA are critical. Most people will be skimming it, so it’s important to make your offer’s potential value obvious to everyone who sees it. Use precise, clear language that explains what customers are going to receive. Bullet points are fantastic because they’re particularly easy to skim and tell the audience exactly what they’re going to receive.

The words you use in your CTA should also line up with the text around it. For example, if you offer home cleaning services and are offering a free download on the safest cleaners to use around children, your CTA will probably best fit at the end of blog posts and articles that discuss the dangers of certain cleaners or how to safely secure cleaners away from children. Try to create a tangible link between the content and the CTA. This will help ensure your offer reaches those who are most likely to be interested in what you have to say.

The appearance

While what you say is certainly important, so is the overall appearance of your CTA. Choose contrasting colors to help the CTA pop from the page and attract viewers’ attention. A CTA that just blends in at the bottom of a blog post will be overlooked and have a poor conversion rate. Similarly, make sure the CTA is big and bold, so no one can miss it. Don’t hide the CTA in the corner, using the same font size as the rest of the page. It will be too easy to ignore.

In the same way, use images and other visuals to help consumers get a concrete look at what they’ll be receiving. If that’s an ebook, for example, use a picture of an actual book with the title of your ebook printed on the front. Using images helps people develop a strong association with the product you’re offering and makes it look more appealing.

The importance of testing

When planning your campaign, develop more than one CTA, then test them to see which one resonates more with customers. You might be surprised how much difference a particular word choice or color can make on your conversion rates. Run basic A/B tests on the CTA, and get concrete answers about which offer is getting more conversions.

An A/B test is simple. Say you have one CTA and then develop an alternate page. The A/B test will randomly show some visitors the original and some the alternate page. It will then track how many people convert from each page. You can use this information to see which has a higher conversion rate, so you get the best page on your site.

Developing an efficient CTA will bring you leads and potential customers. Take the time to follow the steps above, and create a CTA that will maximize your potential.

Finding Your Crowd… On Social Media

Imagine you just moved to a new area. It’s a small city with a bustling population. The local college attracts many young adults to the city, especially on the weekends, while local businesses ensure the professional crowd is also well represented.

Being new to the area, you want to find a place to go for dinner where you can meet some locals and start to get to know your new neighbors. Friday afternoon, you head into the first restaurant. It’s bustling with activity and has great music, but at a volume so loud you can barely hear yourself think. You look around and realize that the crowd is mostly college kids. Surely, some of them are great people, but this isn’t really the crowd you’re looking to get to know. You might make a connection or two, but it will likely be significantly harder to form meaningful relationships.

So, you head out to the second restaurant. As you walk in, hardly anyone looks up. Most people seem to already be finishing their dinner, and the average age in the place seems to be older than your father. Sure, there are probably some fantastic people here, too, but again, this really isn’t the crowd you’re looking for.

You try the next place. You see some people in your age range, but it seems to be a much more family-oriented scene. Most people in the restaurant have young children seated with them. While you love your nieces and nephews, you don’t have children yourself yet, so you wonder how well you’d fit in. You decide to wander on.

Finally, you head into the fourth place. You look around and breathe a sigh of relief. This establishment is filled with other professionals in your age range. This will be a great place for you to start to meet people in your new town and hopefully form some meaningful connections that can help you both socially and professionally.

<strong>So what does all of this have to do with marketing your company?</strong>

As the restaurants in our story demonstrate, different places tend to cater to different crowds. They aren’t all interchangeable. The same is true of social media. If you want to increase your odds of connecting with your audience, you have to know what types of social media they like and where they will be found. To accomplish this, you need to know the following:

<strong>A precise definition of your audience</strong>

Before planning a social strategy, you need to know who you’re trying to reach. This isn’t just a general idea of "people who need XYZ." Instead, you need a more precise profile, including age, education, position, challenges, responsibilities, and what your prospects are looking for.

<strong>Who uses each social media platform</strong>

B2B companies tend to put a considerable amount of effort into LinkedIn, because this is the platform for networking professionals and those who are thinking about business. Facebook is dominated by people in a variety of age ranges looking to joke around and chat with friends. Twitter is a continuous conversation. Google+ has the biggest asset for local businesses looking to boost their SEO and odds of being found by local patrons.

Take these two sources of information and combine them to make a social media marketing plan that will help grow your company in ways you never thought possible. When you’re ready to begin a new marketing campaign, contact us. We’re here to help you get started and find success.

Just What the Teacher Ordered: The Business-Building Benefit Marketing Reports Provide

By the time most of us graduated from high school, we were well acquainted with researching, writing, and editing reports. College often meant more of the same.

While few would list report writing as a “highlight” of their academic career, those hours spent compiling reports were not spent in vain. Sure, report writing helped many of us learn how to plan out a project and conduct research, but they also taught us a bit about the topics we were researching, too. By forcing us to look in depth at the various subjects we were studying and analyze them from a number of different angles, we gained a far better comprehension of the subject matter than we might have if we had just read the textbook.

It’s important to remember those benefits, especially when it comes to marketing your company.

How marketing reports are like your old school reports

Like their high school and college counterparts, marketing reports can also feel frustrating. People often view such assignments as time wasters that are only done because they’re demanded by the c-level executives upstairs. In reality, however, marketing reports can offer considerable insight and help everyone better understand the company’s marketing strategies and how they can be improved.

When you sit down and really invest the time needed to complete a thorough marketing report, you’ll walk away with a much better understanding of your company’s current marketing practices, how well each campaign is performing, and how it all relates to your company’s bottom line. Without a well-researched report, it can be easy to gloss over weak spots and overlook opportunities for continued growth.

What a marketing report should exam

There are an infinite number of metrics a marketing report can examine, but some have more appeal and a greater ability to shed light on the success of your marketing strategy. Here are a couple to consider.

How much does it cost the company, on average, to obtain each new customer?

Take a look at your total cost in sales and marketing over a given period of time. Then see how many customers you obtained in that same period. Divide the cost by the number of customers, and you’ll have your average cost of obtaining a single customer.

Determine what percentage of that cost is related directly to marketing, so you can see which campaigns worked and which ones didn’t. Such insights can prove valuable in helping the marketing team improve their regular performance and illustrate the success of any changes made.

How many leads were generated directly from marketing?

Your marketing team should also be able to report how many successful leads were generated specifically from marketing efforts. Begin by calculating the percentage of customers who began as marketing leads. Then look at how many leads started elsewhere (e.g., in sales), but were influenced by the marketing department before making a purchase.

For added benefit, try to break down specifically where these marketing leads are coming from. Are prospects downloading certain ebooks? Do they subscribe to your blog? Did they take an online webinar?

Marketing reports offer valuable information about the state of your company’s marketing programs and what can be improved. Although they might be viewed with the same frustration as the school reports of your youth, they can also offer incredible insight and education. So don’t overlook the opportunity reports provide to regularly analyze the success of your marketing efforts.

Finding Your Next Great Employee

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” – Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup

Great companies need outstanding employees in order to grow. The problem is finding and retaining that caliber employee. Most small businesses don’t fully understand the process of hiring top-notch employees.

“Effective organizational leadership is simple: 1. Have a vision of where you want to get to. 2. Clearly and persuasively communicate that vision to employees. 3. Be consistent in your behaviors as you strive to achieve that vision.” – from A Roadmap for Employee Engagement by Andy Parsley

Many make the mistake of hiring an employee without clearly thinking the process all the way through. They neglect to think about what they actually want from the new hire. Hiring in this way sets the new employee up for failure before they ever walk in for their first day of work. This turns out to be a waste of time and resources for everyone.

To help avoid this, you need to go through the interview process. The first and most critical step is to write an advertisement that attracts great people in the first place — one that encourages the kind of candidates who want to work for your company.

Thinking this through will also make you consider the short-term and long-term responsibilities and tasks required for this position.

The challenge of finding great job candidates starts with the ad itself. Mediocre job ads attract mediocre workers. To improve your placement ad, you should incorporate the following in the description.

    • Make your company sound innovative and interesting. This will help attract more dynamic applicants who want to work for a fascinating company.
    • Let the applicant know with whom they will most likely be working. Candidates will look forward to learning from someone who is the expert in their field.
    • If the location of your company is a plus for applicants, make sure to mention it. The more benefits you can mention in the ad, the more attractive your ad becomes.
    • Make sure to mention that the position offers growth for the right candidate. Everyone wants to know that they can grow with the company. This also implies that they will be able to make more money as they grow.
    • Include the total compensation and benefits in the offer. Paid holidays, flexible hours, and other perks can be very attractive.
    • Mention that the position requires hard work and dedication. This can help filter out the lazy applicants before time is wasted with the interview.
  • The ad should stand out from all the others. If you want creative, superstar applicants, the ad should be creative, too.

Finding and retaining top talent is one of the most important tasks for any growing company. A strong recruitment ad is just the start but one that can’t be overlooked. Include these tips in your next ad, and hopefully you will attract the type of superstar employee you desire.

Conventions and Trade show Tips

A Simple Guide to Making Connections at Conventions

Conventions are an excellent marketing and networking tool for many small to medium-sized businesses. When managed properly, conventions provide a great opportunity to attract customers, learn more about potential partners or vendors, and build a database of potential leads for the future. The largest conventions may put thousands of prospects within arms’ reach of you, while smaller events offer the opportunity to mix and mingle with peers on a more intimate level.If you’re considering attending a convention, you need to start planning today. Learn how to choose the right event, what you need to keep in mind when networking, the importance of your booth, and what you should aim to offer those who stop by. Once you have these details under control, you’ll be ready to make a lasting impression at your big event!

The Big Decision

There are a huge number of conventions and conferences each year — most likely, more than one applicable to your industry or line of business. Choosing the right convention to attend is a big decision. Spend some time looking over the available information. How many other businesses similar to your own do you think will be attending?

In some cases, you may do better attending a smaller convention or one that doesn’t specifically target those in your industry. You want a convention that will give you the chance to network with those who may utilize your product or service, as well as those who offer products you can use. However, if you can get your foot in the door of a convention where you won’t have many direct competitors, you may be able to obtain leads that are more valuable.

Networking

While at the convention, put less emphasis on making sales and closing deals and more on making connections, building leads, and networking. Decide ahead of time which events you will attend and which you’ll forego in order to operate your booth in person. If there are any social events, use them to reach out and speak to those you consider potential partners for the future.

Booth Matters

Your booth in the dealer or vendor area is an important marketing tool. Clearly, you want to keep it neat, orderly, and attractive to those who pass by. Additionally, you may want to offer something unique or special to encourage people to make the effort to come see you. Outside of attracting potential visitors, you want to make the booth experience “work.” Make sure you’re staffed with knowledgeable personnel and that you have samples, demonstrations, and (possibly) videos available, so you can showcase the key benefits your products and services provide.

The Takeaway

Whether you network with a potential client at a social event or an interested party stops by your booth, you want to provide a way for people to get in touch with you after the event. Start by making sure your business card stands out from the dozens of other cards attendees will pick up at the show. Have some brochures or handouts available, too. These will allow you to share more detailed information.

Collect key contact information from booth visitors, too, including email addresses, phone numbers, and social media profiles. Then, when the event is over, immediately make contact yourself. The goal is to build relationships that will be mutually beneficial now and in the future.

As you can see, there’s more to think about when attending a convention as a professional than just putting on your name badge and showing up. Spend time planning for the big day (or weekend), and maximize the return on your investment of time and effort.

Are You Using Keywords Correctly?

printcopyfactory-blog

When it comes to search engine optimization, few topics are as popular as the use of keywords. To hear some people describe it, keywords are the secret to success; if you just use specific keywords in your text enough, people will flock to your website. But think about the last time you read something that was clearly “keyword stuffed.” It probably sounded awkward, unnatural, and a bit forced, didn’t it? You probably didn’t take the information or the website too seriously. Fortunately, it is possible to use keywords effectively to entice visitors, give them confidence they’ve found a good source of information, and still sound completely natural.

Selecting the keywords

When choosing keywords, think about the words customers are commonly searching for online. Monitor the number of searches that are done for different keywords, and then choose a few you’d like to target. These should be keywords directly related to your business, so you can use them naturally throughout your website and blog.

When selecting keywords, make the subtle distinction between keywords you and other professionals in your industry are likely to use and those your customers are likely to use. Your keywords won’t do you any good if your site ends up just attracting competitors. They’re not looking to buy from you! You want to use language and keywords that reflect your customers’ priorities and their language. This will ensure you bring the right people to your site. This is also helpful for selecting vocabulary words to use on all your marketing materials, including your outbound direct mail and newspaper advertisements.

Using the keywords appropriately

Make sure you use the keywords a few times in content. This will let your visitor know they’ve found a page with the information they were looking for. If done naturally, using the keywords in the opening paragraph can be a good practice for this reason.

Don’t use your keywords excessively, though. Generally, aim to keep the keywords in mind when you write, and use them whenever the opportunity naturally arises rather than assigning yourself the task of fitting them in as often as possible. Using this system will help you improve the flow of your writing and make it sound much more compelling and natural, rather than a trap designed to bring visitors to your website.

The reason blogging and keeping your website up-to-date are so fantastic for marketing is that both of these practices allow you to naturally incorporate keywords into your content. Keywords should be thought of as subjects that you want to write about. They’re terms your potential customers are searching for because they’re interested in learning more. Be the source of information for them, so they will turn to you as a source of authority.

Keywords can be very helpful in developing websites to attract and retain visitors. Capitalizing on their value, however, requires understanding what customers and search engines are and aren’t looking for. Keeping these guidelines in mind should help you use your keywords to your advantage. If you’re ready to take your marketing campaign to the next level, let us know. We’d be happy to help get you started!

Learning the Unique Language of Marketing Can Be Similar to Learning a Foreign Tongue

blog image8.22.2014

 

Imagine walking into a room. You hear the buzz of people talking, laughing, and calling to one another. Yet, somehow, you can’t seem to understand anything they’re saying. You might catch a word here and there, but in general the subject the people are speaking about is lost to you.Did you just walk into a conference room on a business trip to a foreign country, or did you walk into a marketing conference center?

For those who are new to the world of marketing, especially online marketing, either scenario might seem realistic.

How is being thrown into the marketing world similar to landing in a new country?

When a person first moves to the United States without knowing English, the language gap can feel insurmountable. Basic tasks, including banking, buying groceries, or even returning other people’s greetings while walking down the street, can become extremely difficult (if not impossible). Many of those who don’t know English when they first arrive spend a considerable amount of time and energy studying the language. In doing so, they begin to make sense of the sounds they’re hearing, including what the new vocabulary means and how to use the words. As their language skills improve, new residents find their confidence rise as well. Suddenly, when they walk into a room buzzing with chatter, what once seemed like overwhelming noise now begins to make sense to them.

Similarly, marketing comes with its own defined principles and vocabulary that those who are unfamiliar with the industry might find confusing. There are a range of rules that tell people how to use and be successful with the various platforms, along with industry-specific (and even platform-specific) vocabulary that doesn’t make sense anywhere else. As the newcomer becomes more familiar with the language and nuances of the marketing world, they also find the chatter in the room starting to make sense.

How succeed in learning a new language

Whether studying the language of marketing or a new foreign tongue, there are some constant principles for mastering the new form of speech.

1. Practice, practice, practice
Anyone who has ever learned a new language will tell you how critical it is to practice. Reading all the lesson books in the world will mean nothing if you don’t put those lessons into practice every chance you get. This might mean talking to yourself while making breakfast, but whatever the case, practice those vocabulary words.

2. Immerse yourself
Immersion is always the best way to learn a new language. For foreign languages, this might mean seeking out a few people who speak the new language, or even moving to a country where it’s spoken. For marketing, it might mean a steady diet of marketing blogs, webinars, and similar primary sources for instruction.

3. See if you can find a tutor
Sometimes, a tutor can make all the difference in the success of a language learner. A tutor can help you pinpoint your language weaknesses and practice them with you. In marketing, a tutor can help you become well versed in a variety of marketing platforms and their uses faster and easier than trying to go it alone.

Learning a new language is a difficult proposition, whether you are trying to master marketing speech or a foreign tongue. Both have specific vocabularies, along with rules that govern how the language is used. Keeping these ideas in mind can help you learn the new language and become increasingly successful in the world of marketing. If you’re interested in getting acquainted with the ‘language’ of marketing and want to learn more about how to reach customers, contact us today.

Watch What You Say, Especially in Advertising

blogimage

The language you use in your marketing materials has more of an effect than you may realize. In fact, something as simple as your choice of pronouns can end up having an influence on your potential customers and the likelihood of them purchasing your products.The value of the first person

In general, customers respond better to marketing materials, especially websites, that use the first person. This might include buttons that say “create my account” instead of “open an account,” or “start my free trial” instead of “start your free trial.” Making this simple transition can provide a noticeable jump in conversion rates and higher click-throughs. Potential customers will spend more time on your website, learning about your company and what you have to offer. Even if they don’t buy during their initial visit, they’ll begin to feel familiar and connected with your brand, and therefore more likely to return to you when they are ready to buy.

Why do first person pronouns matter?

It all comes down to the power of psychology. Using first person pronouns helps potential customers feel as though they already “belong” — that your company truly cares. That’s something many companies struggle with when trying to reach customers online. It’s much easier to develop close relationships when interacting with customers in person. However, switching to first-person pronouns on your website can help to produce this same kind of connection with customers whose only interactions with your brand take place online.

Making the switch

Effectively incorporating first person pronouns as a part of your call to action must be paired with quality marketing materials. You cannot simply switch your pronouns and expect to see a change if your copy still requires a considerable amount of work. Focus first on developing quality advertising, whether on your website, in social media, or on a traditional advertising platform. Once you have the ad itself set, rather than wrap up your message with a standard call to action, make the switch to the first person and prepare to be amazed at the influence such a simple change can have.

Developing a quality call to action can play an important part in finding new customers and encouraging those who see the advertisements to convert. Incorporating first-person pronouns in that call to action can have a profound effect on your bottom line. If you’re interested in learning more about these different advertising techniques, give us a call today. We’d be happy to help you get started growing and finding new customers.

Taking an X-Ray of your Business

taking a closer look at your business tips

Taking an X-Ray of your Business

From the time the x-ray was invented around the turn of the 20th century, people have been fascinated by the capacity of these rays to capture what lies beneath the skin. When the technology is used by doctors, it can help determine if bones are broken, detect disorders or illnesses, or see how well a broken bone is healing.As business leaders, we must sometimes look at our own businesses with x-ray eyes: uncovering and treating problems beneath the surface before they get out of hand or cause permanent damage.Uncovering problems

Few businesses run perfectly. As any company grows, it will experience bumps, bruises, and hiccups along the way. Part of running the business involves being able to lead the company through these times, so you can come out the other side stronger and better prepared for the future. Many times, this involves easy fixes. Perhaps a new employee is needed to handle greater demand or a policy might need to be tweaked to adapt to an evolving workflow.

Sometimes, however, problems are not so easy to fix. Take, for example, customer service. We’ve all experienced times (as customers) when we’ve felt like we’re being passed around from person to person, trying to find a simple answer to our question. By the time we get our answer, we’re so frustrated with the process that we end up completely annoyed with the company. This damages the company reputation and may even cause us to stop doing business with them.

As a business leader, you need to realize that these kinds of deep, penetrating problems cannot be fixed with simple, one-size-fits-all solutions. Sometimes, you need to look deeper and see where the ‘bone’ is broken — and how badly — before you can begin to treat the symptoms and heal your company. Only after you have a clearer picture of what’s really going on can you find the right way to fix the problem and make your company stronger for the long run.

Making the repair

If your company is facing a major problem that can’t be fixed easily, don’t be afraid to go back and start over in finding the solution. While it can certainly be intimidating to think about how long the process will take and how much potential revenue you might lose along the way, it’s important to remember that taking the time to complete these repairs properly will make your company stronger over the long haul. This, in turn, will help to boost revenue and make up for lost time. Companies that neglect to make difficult but necessary changes often find themselves losing money (and customers).

So how can you go about fixing tough problems? Start with these steps.

  1. Sit down and plan out exactly what your end goal will be. Providing higher-quality customer service is one possible example.
  2. Work backwards to generate ideas about how this goal can be reached. This will typically involve doing industry research and learning more about what the competition does to accomplish a similar aim.
  3. Educate and retrain all members of the organization about the new methods and procedures, so everyone is on the same page, even those who aren’t directly involved with the affected areas.

Invite feedback from customers and employees to see how well the changes are working.

Growing a business sometimes means being willing to go back to the drawing board to see how a key part of the business can be changed and repaired to make it stronger in the future. Don’t be afraid to ‘x-ray’ your business and find ways to help it grow in the years to come.

What You Can Learn from a Stack of Pancakes

pancakes

Everyone has comfort foods they view as the perfect meal after a long week at work, a stressful day, or even just to wake up to after a long night out with friends. These foods range from a plateful of pancakes to a bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese or Mom’s chili. Whatever the comfort food may be, most tend to share a few characteristics on common.

  • They’re not all that good for you.
  • They’re very filling.
  • Health experts would tell you not to eat them.

Theoretically, food should be optimized to provide our bodies with nourishment. Foods that don’t provide optimal nourishment — and might actually hurt it with excessive calories, salt, and fat — should not be desired. However, as humans, most of us like to enjoy our foods. Hence, the popularity of comfort foods.

What purpose do these foods serve?

Comfort foods fill a very specific role in our lives. For some people, favorite comfort foods remind them of their mother or grandmother’s cooking when they were growing up. Others might just take pleasure in the savory taste.

These foods tend to fill us up, make us feel warm inside, and allow us the opportunity to take our minds off whatever might be worrying us or stressing us. They’re not the foods we eat every day. Instead, they’re a special treat, and that’s part of their appeal.

The next time you’re feeling stressed and decide to turn to a bowl of cheesy, carbohydrate-laden deliciousness to help take the edge off the pain, look down at that dish and see what you might actually learn from it.

What can be learned from Grandma’s pie

As already mentioned, comfort foods fill a specific role. We don’t turn to them for nutritional value or health. We turn to them for comfort. In other words, these foods have a specific niche. Your business must also determine its niche and be able to articulate exactly what it is you do for people. The same way not all food can be nutritious, easy, or cheap, not all companies within a given industry can fulfill the same needs for customers.

How to identify your company’s niche

There are two main criteria your company should examine when looking to identify your niche. The first is what your customers are looking for. No industry is so over-saturated that every possible customer need is already being met. Perhaps there’s a distinct specialization that’s underserved, or every company focuses so much on lower prices that they fail to address the quality customer service and customer assistance that’s being sought. Determine what it is that’s lacking within the industry.

Secondly, discuss what unique skill sets your company brings to the industry. Perhaps several of your founding members have a background in a particular area that could help guide your company toward a specialization. Bring these two criteria together to determine the best niche for the company.

Identifying a key niche helps distinguish your business and secure its place as an essential player in the industry. Remembering that your company cannot be everything to everyone should help you determine what exactly you bring to the table and how you can use your skills to an advantage. If you’re looking to begin identifying and advertising to a specific niche, contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Page 5 of 37« First...«34567»102030...Last »