Landing Page? We Don't Need a Landing Page!

Yeah, you do, but what type?

Chances are you know what a landing page is. However, did you know there are different types? And it all depends on what you’re after.

Give and Get

In the beginning, your buyer/customer just wants to find out if you’re their solution. The name of the game is capturing their e-mail address. That’s what this page does

The reasons these pages are so effective for getting emails are:

  • They offer a lot for a little. Figure out what you can create to give them: an ebook, audit, a report or blueprint. 

  • They’re quick and easy. Squeeze pages are short and sweet. They tell you what they want and how to do it.

Lead Capture

You have their email address. Congratulations. Now you need to qualify your lead. This is where lead capture landing pages come in..

These landing pages are differentiated by a lead capture form, which solicits personal information in exchange for a lead magnet, the way your give & get page does. However, a lead capture landing pages use longer forms.

What is requested via this form is dependent on the business building it  and the information they need to qualify a lead. The shorter it is, the higher likelihood your visitor completes it. 

Click-Through

A long form can scare off prospects.

Enter the click-through pages. They relieve the pressure, so the elements of a landing page that make prospects uncomfortable with conversion are less stressful. These pages feature elements that instill trust in the visitor, like security badges, money-back guarantees, testimonials and comprehensive copy.

Sales Page

These are your heavy hitters, and they’re difficult to convert, so the landing page needs to be fairly intensive. Of course, the content depends highly on the value of the sale. If a product is high-commitment – expensive or a recurring subscription – a page will be longer because it will likely require more persuasive elements to get a conversion.

What Does It All Mean?

For one, you need to have your ducks in a row. A clear plan and path is the only way you’ll achieve your conversion goals.

A clean path means everything needs to line up with your branding. The landing page should be branded the same as your web pages, ads, etc.

Basically, pre-click look, feel and personality needs to match post-click look, feel and personality.

Why Does B2C Content Get To Have All The Fun?

You know, you see all those cool B2C campaigns out there and you think, "well, I can't do that with B2B."

Actually, you can.

Perhaps it's because I come from the advertising agency side of thinking, but I'm a firm believer that all products and services can be interesting. Yes, seriously. And in my experience, B2B is one of the easier areas to break out with big ideas. 

Why? Because everyone else has already committed themselves to produce stodgy, uninteresting content that does nothing for their brand. That's the crack in the door to take your content to new heights. 

So, how? We're glad you asked. 

Look at your product. Now, look at the people who use your product or services? How are they using it? What else are they looking at? Your audience isn't always in business mode, they're real people, too. So, give them something fun. Maybe even cool. It's not about your brand being something that it's not, it's about letting down your guard and having a little fun. Check out these examples from Hubspot. 

See what I mean? Those are some serious B2B companies, but they're making a splash and having a little fun. For us, one of the biggest takeaways is to not be afraid to try something. Put your brand out there. See what happens. It's about letting your customers and your audiences see you in a different way. And content marketing is the perfect way to do it. Again, we're not telling you not to be you, but understand how you can push your brand forward.

You just might surprise yourself and your customers. 

So, How Do I Blog That Much?

Well, there's no easy answer.

You just gotta do it. 

Like your brand, it takes consistency. So, to get those 11+ blog posts a month, you need a plan. And you need a devoted partner to help facilitate the strategy and actual pen to paper. Of course, that's easier said than done. 

Why a partner? Well, if you're a small business owner, you usually don't have the time or person to spare. To be quite honest, an outside partner has a different perspective. You're all about your business from the inside out; however, you need to be able to take an honest step back and see what's really going on. 

This takes discipline and trust.

Why? You need to have the discipline to be able to know what you don't know, and the trust to put the responsibility into the correct hands. 

So, to increase your blogging to where it really helps your website rank and search, you've got to consistently blog. If you can spare an employee to make it happen, go for it. If not, the best solution is to get with an outside partner who understands your brand, content marketing and most importantly, your audience. 

There's no better time to get started than today. 

 

Content Strategy: How Often Should You Blog?

If you're familiar with inbound marketing, this question has been around awhile.

Well, according to the smart guys over at Hubspot, the answer depends on the size of your company. They have established benchmarks and how reaching those goals can influence traffic to your website.

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Overall, and as expected, they found that the more blog posts per month equaled more traffic on their website. Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 - 4 monthly posts.

According to Hubspot, here's where it gets interesting: 

Companies with 1 - 10 employees: The small companies that publish 11 or more blog posts per month drive much higher traffic than companies of the same size that publish fewer than 11 blog posts. Those that published 11+ posts per month had almost 3X more traffic than companies publishing 0 - 1 monthly posts, and about 2X as much traffic as those publishing 2 - 5 monthly posts.

Companies with 11 - 25 employees and 201+ employees: Like the companies with 1 - 10 employees, companies with 11 - 25 employees saw the largest jump in traffic numbers when they published more than 11 blog posts per month. In fact, when the companies with 201 or more employees published 11+ monthly posts, they got 3.5X more traffic than those publishing 0 - 1 blog posts per month. 

Companies with 26 - 200 employees: The larger companies that published 11+ blog posts per month had a little less than 2X more traffic than those publishing 0 - 1 posts per month.

So, what's the big takeaway? Companies that focus on quality and consistent content on their blogs attract more website views and more leads. 

Next time you pass the buck on blogging, just remember that you could be costing your company sales. 

Remember, the time spent is an investment. Think compound interest.

How Content Strategy Can Help You Predict The Future

Well, sorta.

The beauty of content strategy is to seeing your product or service area through the eyes of your audience. That may be the hardest part. Simple in theory, but difficult to take yourself out your brand mindset. 

It's your baby. I get it. 

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When you see your brand from another vantage point, you begin to see the opportunities for great content. For example, let's say you make coffee beans. Go to google and type in "coffee beans for" and see what pops up. My guess is you'll end up with several potential content posts, ideas and videos to run with. 

"For" is nice because it gets us into the actual realm of usage. 

It's not exactly predicting the future, but it's looking at search patterns and understanding where they could go next. And it's not simply guessing.

Start down this road and your content begins to actually have worth. You're educating and talking to your audience, instead of at them. Big difference.

Huge difference. 

So, again, get outside of your day to day and begin to see your offering from your audience's view. I bet it will change the way you're looking at content, and make you realize how one- or two dimensional your website was, to begin with. 

 

 

5 Facts About Social Media That Will Keep You Up at Night

Everything these days needs a strategy.

Social is no different. 

While the beauty of social is how easily your message can be pushed out, the goal is awareness, generate new leads and drive people to your website. 

Social is a very important part of your overall content marketing. Of course, you'll need to know which social media channel brings the best engagement. And that comes down to knowing your audience.

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While each has its own virtues, below are five stats we picked up from our friends over at Sprout Social:

1. Facebook - Around 76% of adults online use Facebook, and since Facebook Live hit the scene, the platform is up 700% in video views.

2. Pinterest - 33% of adult internet users are on Pinterest, but the platform appeals more to women than men. 

3. Twitter - There are 319 million active users on Twitter. And if your company is on the move, you're in luck. About 80% of Twitter usage is mobile.

4. LinkedIn - When it comes to B2B social media platform, LinkedIn is it. The network has members across 200 countries and is perfect for B2B businesses or personal brands looking for growth.

5. Instagram - Instagram boasts 800 million users. Millenials love it, as well as those who love visuals. 

Once you have your social goals lined up with your business goals, it's all about finding the right network to broadcast your messages. And lucky for us, there seems to be a social platform for just about every segment. 

Ok, now it's up to you to find your brand voice and tell a story. After all, that's what we're talking about. 

Can't sleep now, huh? Did I get you thinking about your content creative process? My bad. 

Guess you could always take the time to look at your social media strategy and give it that much needed overhaul. 

It's Not About the Work

Yes and no.

When I was a young copywriter, I only focused on the work. That's what I was told to do. I had my nose stuck in Communication Arts annuals and One Show books. Eyeing great creative and trying to understand what worked and why. 

We'd all say, "Let's do some kick a## work! Yeah!"

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Then I got older. Started actually thinking about it.

Not all clients want kick a## work. Of course, we're talking in vague measurements here, but the one measurement that can't be denied is increased bottom line.

So, here you are with your award-winning print ad, but the work did nothing for their brand or bottom line. That's a tough one. Honestly, I think it's a problem award shows have been dealing with for a while now.

The real magic is in the strategy.

And that comes from working with your client and truly understanding their business problems. I'm talking to the point where those problems keep you up at night. Ok, not in a I-got-an-ulcer kinda way, but you feel what they feel.

Once you've done that, try and see the work through their eyes. 

If your goal is clear and measurable, there's a way to get there. Hand the strategy brief to the right creative team, and they'll give you back gold. 

It happens. A lot more than you think.

The work doesn't have to be amazing to move the needle, but it has to be smart. For me, that's the ultimate compliment. It not only shows off your creative thinking but your logic. Smart work can only be produced with a smart strategy brief. 

So there you have it. It is and is not about the work. Sorta. Kinda.

 

Do You Know Who's Creating Your Content?

It's a fair question. Why do I ask?

Well, if you're outsourcing your content creation, you need to understand their background. What skills do they bring to the table? Can they think past linear executions and show you real strategy? Or are they simply mailing it in and doing whatever automated software is cool this month is telling them to do.

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As I have said before, you can create and develop content sitting behind a desk. Sure, I'm writing this article. Sitting in my office, watching my 12-year-old lab stretch across the floor. However, I'm usually out talking to and getting to know my clients' audiences. 

Once you do that, you can then begin to understand what is they want from your brand AND THEN what you can start creating. It's very organic. Not in it'll-happen-when-it-happens sorta way, but in a sense that you actually give a damn as a brand. Now you're actually listening.

Smart content can be developed, curated and diced up in different ways to not only work harder but be more efficient. For instance, look at Garden&Gun. Living in Charleston, SC, for 13 years before moving to the Asheville area, I am a big fan. They write great articles, and they know how to use them. Every so often I'll see a social post and I know exactly what issue it came from. The article was written a year ago, possibly, but it's still relevant and people probably forgot about it. 

That's smart. They're using their own content efficiently. 

So, think to yourself. (I can hear the wheels turning right now)

Who's doing my content? Do they know my brand? Do they know my audiences? Are they making it work as hard as it should? 

How Big Data is Like a School Yard Bully

Really? 

Do you want to go up against big data?

You don't want to do that, they'll tell you. 

Well, the thing about big data is that right now it can do no wrong. Supposedly it tells you everything you need to know about your customers and audiences. There's no reason to look past anything else. 

That's where the rub is.

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Big data can tell you some very interesting facts about who you're marketing to. I agree. However, it's not the end all, be all of marketing. While I utilize it, I look at it for what it is and what it's telling me.

Those who champion big data will tell you it takes the emotion out of marketing. Well, that's where I have the biggest issue with big data.

We need the emotion.

People are emotional. They purchase goods or services because they felt something along the sales funnel. Big data can tell us interesting data points and metrics, but it can't look the audience in the face. 

At the end of the day, it's about your product or service and what it can do for me or how it makes me feel. What the brand stands for and how I see myself in that brand. Share the same values, etc. 

Big data has its place and it's vital, but damn, make me feel something. 

Doing Videos The Right Way

So, still on the fence about adding video content to your site or landing pages?

80% of all internet traffic will be video by 2019.

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Yep, better hop off the fence and get moving, but before you begin, please listen to what I'm about to tell you. There's a right way to do video.

1. Know Your Brand - Understand how your brand talks, walks and looks like. That will help you as you relate to your audience. 

2. Say Something - Get to know your audience. Find out what they're looking for that your brand can help communicate. Dig deeper. It's not all about you, but talk to them.

3. Be Entertaining - Have fun and be yourself. And if you can't do that, there are other ways around that. You don't have to be on camera. Get creative. 

4. Short and Sweet - Get in and get out. Simple as that. Don't linger. Make your point and move on.

5. Be Efficient - The smart way to produce video is to think about how you can get the most bang for your buck. When I was the Creative Director on Terminix, we created a Ride Along series with Terminix drivers. A fun way to get to know the keymen. So, we would pre-plan and shoot 5-6 in one day. That content would last us for a full season. 

And as you've heard me say before, keep it simple. 

Oh, and I'll leave you with this if you're still thinking video content isn't right for you. 90% of consumers say videos can help them make buying decisions. 

Yep, I think you're hearing us loud and clear.