Make The Most of Your Sales Off-Season: Optimize Four Key Digital Marketing Areas

Many businesses (especially startups) develop tunnel vision when it comes to sales. When deals are closing left and right, it’s time to hire and invest in marketing; when it’s the ‘off-season’, it’s time to pare down operations and quietly wait it out until things pick up again. If this is your approach to handling the fluctuations in sales, then you’re missing out on a big opportunity to use the relative peace and quiet of your off-season to ramp up your marketing in four key areas.

1.     Website Traffic

Are the right people finding you online? Are you missing out on any potential customers or trends? Search habits change, so it’s important to regularly review your data and compare it to overall search trends and your competition to make sure you’ve got your bases covered. Now is the time to optimize your paid search, SEO, and social media marketing strategies.

2.     Conversion

Is your content performing? Are website visitors converting where and when you want them to? A surge in website visits doesn’t mean much if those visitors aren’t doing anything when they get to your website. There’s always room for improvement, and now is the best time to try out some new tests and dive deep into your data. Continuous optimization is important for businesses in competitive fields or industries that are constantly changing—you want leads and conversions wherever you can get them.

3.     Customer Value

How much revenue does each of your customers represent for your business? How can your current client base help you make more sales? Referrals, testimonials, upsells—your best customers could also be your biggest opportunities.

 4.     Data Analysis

One area that tends to suffer during the busy times is data analysis. You need time and focus to really dig deep and discover the insights hiding in your analytics data, and your ‘downtime’ is the perfect opportunity. And we’re not just talking about website traffic: evaluate every data point you’re tracking in your CRM tools, customer survey results, and client reports. Any one of these could hold valuable information.

Capitalize on the relative calm of your off-season by resting, reviewing, and implementing new strategies. By the time sales pick up again, you’ll be in a prime position to overtake your competition and maximize your sales.

 

How To Nurture Leads Into Sales At Every Stage of the Funnel

If you’ve engaged in any kind of digital marketing, you (or your sales team) probably have a way of categorizing your leads. Everyone has a different system, but there’s always one basic distinction that must be made: the wheat must be separated from the chaff. The high-quality leads and low-quality leads are sorted and followed up with accordingly.

Examine The Source

Identifying a low-quality lead and making too little of an effort to help it develop can feed into a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you get a lead that isn’t a qualified consumer poised to buy, that’s your cue to nurture its potential. There are myriad ways to generate leads online: form submissions, of course, but also phone calls, free trial signups, newsletter signups, survey responses, etc. The source of the lead should tell you where that prospect is in the buying process: top of the funnel (ToFu) leads often come from free offer signups or downloads because they’re interested in the information, not necessarily in your brand or your offering—yet. That may feel like a low quality lead, but it’s not. It’s simply a consumer who’s early in the buying process, and they need a little nudge from you to progress through the funnel.

Follow Up

So, how do you nurture a seemingly low-quality lead into a paying customer? Here are three simple ways:

  • Email marketing. The source of a lead should tell you what they’re looking for. Give them more of it (or introduce them to resources or services similar to what they’ve already expressed interest in.)
  • Be ready to follow up on the follow up. Marketing automation is a wonderful way to keep your follow ups consistent, but remember that one-size-fits-all won’t work when you’ve got leads from multiple sources and at different stages of the purchasing process. Make sure that all of your communications are suited to the prospect and that you have a plan for those that show positive engagement as you nurture.
  • Track everything. This benefits you in the long run. The more data you have about the different types of leads you generate and their journeys through the sales funnel, the easier it will be to see patterns and optimize your lead nurturing strategy accordingly.

Reap The Benefits

So there you have it. Everybody loves qualified leads, but you can’t afford to ignore leads that don’t fall squarely into the “hot” category. The nature vs. nurture debate need not apply to lead generation: you’ll need to work on both angles to get the most out of every lead.

 

Three Ways Native Advertising is Changing the Game in Social Media Marketing

A major topic at Hubspot’s Inbound Publishers Summit last week in Boston was the evolving role of native advertising. Though we’ve seen incredible growth in content produced online in recent years, the explosion has only just begun, and many companies are scrambling to harness the power of digital content. One way that publishers are already doing this (aside from producing said content, of course) is by deploying native ads within it. With native ad spending projected to increase by 35% to $4.3 billion this year, it’s safe to say that the industry’s interest has been officially piqued. Interestingly, 71% of advertisers reported employing native ads in social media content only. How is that affecting current social media advertising practices? Here are three ways:

1.       We already know that social media users essentially ignore generic branded content, so the more appropriate your promotional content is for the context, the better your chances are of your social media audience actually seeing it. Native advertising offers brands an opportunity to connect with users on platforms that are constantly changing to provide better user experiences.

2.     In the SEO and content marketing realms we hear the mantra “Content is King” repeated at every possible opportunity, but a more accurate spin on it for native ads could be “Context is King.” Having a tightly defined audience is key for success in native advertising, though many brands still struggle to define what that success means for their business. On social this can be particularly tricky—is a native advertising campaign’s success measured in shares? Clicks? Reach? New definitions for ROI on social media may emerge as brands learn to use native ads more effectively.

3.   Many social media platforms have offered their own paid ad and native ad services for a while now, but these are heavily reliant on publishers to produce the content streams where they’ll appear. Publishers are in a prime position to capitalize on advertisers’ reliance on their content, and indeed many of them are beginning to offer their own agency services to do just that. Without their own content alliances or production arms, social media platforms could lose out.

Social media users now have more ways to customize their feeds, control their personal information, and block out the content they don’t want to see than ever before. Brands are tasked with maintaining an in-depth understanding of who their audiences are, what they want, and when they should give it to them—the less relevant the message, the more likely it is to be tuned out. It’s a landscape that’s constantly changing (see Buzzfeed’s recent pitch of its POUND (Process for Optimizing and Understanding Network Diffusion tool) which means businesses must be constantly optimizing their social media marketing plans.

Stay tuned for native ad developments outside of the social media space. Google’s own content delivery platform is currently invite-only, and could roll out any day now.

RLSA – A Search Advertiser’s Secret Weapon

Remarketing Lists for Search Advertising, or RSLA, is a powerful advertising tactic that aids you in retargeting your paid efforts towards prospects that have already visited your site. By gearing both your ad copy as well as your budget with existing prospects in mind, you can dynamically serve different, more aggressive ads designed to capitalize on the previous brand exposure without presenting the prospect with the same messaging and copy that they’ve already seen.

 

What are the Benefits of RLSA?

First and foremost, there is a proven correlation between prior exposure and increased click-through rate (CTR), which quite simply means that a prospect who has already had prior exposure to your brand or website is significantly more likely to click/convert on your ad unit. RLSA allows you to take advantage of this fact by filtering the ad units displayed to use copy that is new and unique to a repeat visitor, instead of beating them over the head with the same ad copy over and over again.

 

Additionally, RLSA allows you to minimize risk while testing for new keyword opportunities. Imagine being able to target for a new set of keywords, while minimizing spend by exposing return users only to your new ad copy.

 

How Can I Implement RLSA?

If you are already an AdWords user, implementing RLSA into your existing ad workflow is very straightforward. After adding your remarketing list or lists into your AdWords account, create a new Audience within your existing search campaign and add your list(s) to that audience. Ensure that you select ‘Bid Only’ to tell Google to modify your spend threshold for previous visitors, and then save and close your campaign.

RLSA can be a highly efficient targeting tactic that will help convert prospects who already have prior experience with your site or brand. Using RLSA in conjunction with careful monitoring of your analytics and paid performance allows you to tweak and optimize your advertising campaign on the fly, using up-to-the-day data to inform your targeting decisions.

Retargeting: The Advertising Pros and Cons

Ever heard of retargeting? If not, get this: we’re pretty sure that your online activities are being retargeted right now by advertisers. This is more accurately called “behavioral advertising.” Simply put, display ads take previous behavior from your browser cookies and re-targets you in the future with ads.

Think of how this can positively impact your customers. You can send them similar pitches regarding your service or product. However, there are two potential downsides to this.

1. Retargeted display ads have a diminishing return - Think about when you get hit with the same messages on a consistent basis. Over time, you begin to ignore them. This is no different with retargeting.

2. The ads only target people who have expressed interest - Your initial ads target new people constantly, but retargeted won’t follow anyone who hasn’t clicked on the initial ad. As a result, they have a lower cost per lead when compared to other forms of ads.

Nonetheless, there are also a couple of important upsides to retargeting. Here are the positive effects:

a. Find relevant customers.

Retargeted ads have the potential to take you to other relevant websites. Customers you’ve retargeted are potentially searching for other keywords and going on new websites. If you research the activity of your prospects, you’ll soon find new niches to include in your advertising.

b. Increase the probability of a sell.

Also repeated messaging can turn off customers, there are certain buyers who simply need more exposure. Retargeted does this to great effect, allowing you to increase conversions with certain products. As is always key in sell, following up is important.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this short primer on retargeting! Take the pros and cons into consideration when testing out this form of advertising.

How to Improve Your Conversion Rates for Your Website

While getting traffic to your website isn’t always easy, it’s certainly doable. Increasing conversions on your website, however, is another matter.

Marketing on its own doesn’t generate profits; web conversions do. This is the rate at which the leads that enter your site come in to purchase your goods or services. A lot of people neglect optimizing the sales funnel and instead focus on generating more traffic. As a result, you end up putting more energy into a presumably untested conversion funnel, churning potential customers at a faster rate.

Conversely, when you optimize your site’s conversion funnel, you’re making it much easier for customers to buy, increasing your bottom line. You’re no longer trying to make up the difference to account for lost customers.

To help you on your journey to increase conversions, here are four tips you can start using right now.

Tip 1: Streamline Your Web Design

One of the biggest perpetrators of lost conversions is bad web design. Clunky, cluttered, and ineffective navigation often leads to disoriented visitors. No matter how good your copy may be, a confused user isn’t going to want to buy from your site.

Make sure your site is easily navigable  on a mobile device and make the calls to action simple to understand.

Tip 2: Increase Your Copy Quality

Just as with web design, your copy is central in keeping customers on your site. Make sure what you’re asking the reader is clear and defined. Imagine what the reader will see the first time he or she comes upon your site. Do they understand what to do next? Is your first headline going to hold their attention?

Use copy to encourage users to stay on your site longer (in other words, invest). The longer they stay, the greater the chance you have of converting them to a paying customer.

Tip 3: Capture Their Email Address to Continue Engagement

The email address is the most personal form of communication online. And that’s the best reason to capture an email: to continue the conversation where it’s most personal.

This also makes it easy to follow up and demonstrate your product’s value. The standard ‘Contact Us’ form asks for email addresses, but go the extra mile and build an email list.

Tip 4: Invest in Lead Generation Content

Content like this is of the highest quality, coming in the form of a video, white paper, demo, or anything else your visitor would find valuable. You’ll find that many site offer free PDFs and guides in exchange for an email or a social share.

Put in the time to make this educational content, and you’ll be sure to gain more customers, fast!

What did you think of our tips? Do you have any of your own to share? Let us know in the comments.

5 Tips to Get More Traffic Right Now

If you’re not getting website traffic, you may as well not exist in the online world. Millions upon millions of websites are available, but most of them people will never visit. This leaves the opportunity wide open for you to capture users that are looking for something of high value.

We all know that traffic is a key component of sales. In this post, we’ll outline the top five ways you can get more traffic to your website upon implementation.

Let’s now go over each one and learn how to start integrating them into our traffic strategy!

1. Build a Reputation

One of the fundamentals to focus is to build a reputation. You have to get people talking about you, your brand, and your services. There are several ways you can do this practice, including writing guest posts, building relationships with people in different, but related niches, and going to in-person networking events.

2. Paid Advertising

In terms of measurable conversions, nothing beats paid media. Google Adwords is a great way to start testing paid advertising with just a little investment, in addition to Sponsored Ads on social media. With this, you can track the performance of your ads and optimize them for maximum return on your investment.

3. SEO (or Search Engine Optimization)

Search marketing allows you to tailor both your content and your website architecture for search engine users. If users are going to find your product, they’re going to have to search for it. These days, nearly everyone is trying to get their hands on the latest search tactic to put them at the top of their highly-trafficked keyword term.

4. Social Media

Social media isn’t the best way to get sales, but it’s certainly a guaranteed way to drive engagement and traffic on your website. it also allows you to build smaller relationships that companies tend to ignore and take for granted. The more you socialize with new users online, the more likely the are to become customers and the more you’ll understand exactly what they want!

5. Loyalty Marketing

You certainly have traffic now, don’t you? What are you doing with it?

One of the most valuable assets a web marketer can have is his/her own pre-existing audience. Think about it; you’ve already won your customers over. Presumably, they love what you do. The best thing you can do now is encourage them to spread the word! Make your users evangelists and reward them when they bring in new customers!

Use these tips today, and you’ll get more traffic in no time!

The Ultimate 10 Reasons You Aren’t Optimized for Local SEO

Mobile is growing faster than ever and shows no signs of slowing down. That’s why it is important for you to invest in local visibility. Your customers are consistently on the go, looking for the most approachable and mobile local offerings around. If your website is searchable by local standards, you’ve already won the battle of getting exposure.

However, some businesses remain unaware of local search benefits to their sites. This guide we’ve written out teaches you about the top 10 reasons you aren’t getting as much local traffic as you should.

1. You have duplicate listings online.

Make sure you don’t have content spread across the web that is word-for-word of a similar piece of content. Originality (even in repurposing) is infinitely better than duplication.

2. You don’t have a Google Plus Local Profile.

If this is the case with your website, create one as soon as possible. You can’t get around much as a local business without a Local Profile in place.

3. Your contact info isn’t complete.

Make sure you include your complete name, address, and phone number are included on all citations, both on and offline.

4. Your name, address, and phone number aren’t accurate.

Nothing is worse than confusing customers as to your whereabouts. Be careful in making this information consistent across the board.

5. Your business isn’t tagged with the appropriate categories.

This is especially important in SEO. If you are in the marketing industry, find categories as closely related to marketing as you can. Just be sure your website is tagged, whether in a directory or by simply using keywords.

6. You need more content.

A site with little content can still do well, but the more you have, the higher the chance you’ll get traffic.

7. Your links aren’t high quality.

The solution to this is simple: get higher quality links from people in your industry. Share their content and ask them to share yours.

8. You aren’t optimized for mobile.

Invest the time and money to make this a possibility. Google is heavily favoring sites that are mobile-optimized.

9. You need more reviews.

Ask your local customers for more reviews. In exchange for reviews, search engines increase your relevance for local terms.

10. You aren’t participating in social media.

Start with one social media account and try interacting with users in communities related to your website. You’ll find that it’s a great source of referral traffic to your website.

Any other reasons you aren’t getting local search traffic? Let us know in the comments below.

Top 4 Ways for Politicians to Gain Exposure through SEO

Politicians tend to get enough exposure as it is: their names often drive controversy, their parties set Twitter feeds ablaze, and their views are often misconstrued. This makes it hard for politicians to get their intended message across.

So how can party representatives get the focus on their message that they need to gather supporters? Sounds like some SEO is necessary to make things happen!

A little search optimization can go a long way.

In this post, we’ll outline a few tactics politicians should use their content strategies in order to stand out above their competition.

1. Start a professionally-curated website.

Seems obvious enough, but to reiterate, creating a website around your name puts you in the hotseat as the authority. You can post help campaign articles, videos, and more so that your supporters can follow your journey with as little confusion from competitors as possible.

2. Focus on a few local key terms.

If you’re a local politician, you’ll need to gain search real estate by zeroing in on geographical keywords. Put a few in your copy, insert a couple in your title tag, consistently address local issues and you’ll be optimized in no time. More traffic, guaranteed.

3. Do your best to come out in front of trending issues.

This one will be your most valuable resource as time is of the essence. Google Trends is an invaluable tool for seeing what new topics are on the rise. See if you can address them in content on your site or on another influencer’s site.

4. Become a presence with top authorities by guest posting.

Share your voice with supporters by going where they read. Don’t limit yourself to purely text-based sites; post videos on social video networks (like Youtube and Vimeo) or record interviews on podcasts. Not only will this give you more traffic, but it’ll also sement your presence with their sites in search engines.

As a politician, it’s important to do much more than spread your message in person. As you wow the audience in a live speech, do your best to continue the conversation online. Once you build a robust online reputation, there’s no question your campaign will reach a superb level of success – and you just might get elected too!

Let us know what you think of these tips in the comments section below.

3 Signs You Need to Check on Your AdWords Campaign

Need a tune up on your Adwords campaign? A better question is, how do you know when you need to fix your campaign settings? Often times, notifications that raise awareness to errors in our campaigns give us the opportunity to optimize them better next time.

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t come with this feature. Rather, when something breaks down in your campaign, you’ll receive the full brunt of your error. Only after that will you get the chance to fix your mistakes.

Not ideal, huh?

To help you proactively prevent Adwords campaign mistakes, we’ve put together four potential errors that can come about in your platform. Take note of how your campaign operates as you go through the list!

Potential Error #1 Check Your Keywords

This error tends to come up when you stick strictly to Broad match keywords, without a clear inclusion of Exact match and phrase keywords.

  • Be sure use Negative keywords in your list of keywords.

  • Lastly, segment your keywords in different ad groups.

Doing this, you tend to waste most of your clicks, while eating up money on bad searches.

Potential Error #2 Check Your Ad Landing Page

These next few problems come from landing page screwups. For example, if your copy is inconsistent on either your landing pages or your ads, you’ll get this error.

  • Don’t let your landing page detract from the product being advertised.

Together, these end up in a sharp decrease in conversions for your agency.

Potential Error #3 Check Your Tracking Code

This error is one of the most important ones to watch out for. Be sure to set up your tracking code for shopping carts. You’ll be able to capture revenue data once this is in place.

  • If you don’t do this, you can’t optimize your bids and sales.

Be sure to make sure all of these are in place so that you can optimize the returns on your advertisements. Let us know if you have any questions!