Posts of the Week Ending 11-17-2012

Potluck Sunday posts of the week

The big news for business bloggers during the past week was the announcement of Pinterest’s new tools for businesses. And, as always, bloggers have been busy creating great content. Here’s a list of the best posts I ran across last week:

  • 10 Ways to Make Your Blog More Social – from LongHornLeads, this list doesn’t share any surprises, but it’s a great social content marketing checklist.
  • 10 Tips to Take Advantage of Google+ for SEO – We’ve talked a lot about the importance of social media in relation to SEO, and since Google is the proud parent of Google+, wise bloggers will take notice of its importance. Cyrus Shepherd wrote this guest post over on Social Media Biz.
  • Snoox: It’s Like Pinterest but for Social Recommendations – Whether or not we need another social platform, we now have Snoox (“We Share Things Every Day in Real Life – Now Share, Search & Save Recommendations with Friends Online.”). Thanks to Megan O’Neill for her Snoox review on SocialTimes.
  • In B2B Email Subject Lines, Some Keywords Work Better than Others – You gotta love analysts. Thanks to MarketingCharts for researching over a BILLION email subject headlines to let us know which words are more effective. It’s great information. I’m just glad they did the research and not me!
  • 7 Tips to Create Great Mobile Landing Pages – Did you know 70 percent of mobile searchers take action within one hour of their search? We’ve talked a lot about landing pages lately, and this post from DreamGrow gives some great tips for mobile landing pages.

Are You Serving the Wrong Pages to Your Traffic?

Bowls of too hot, too cold and just right porridge.

We all remember Goldilocks, the little girl who, while traipsing through the forest, ran across a cottage belonging to the three bears. Hungry, she sampled some porridge, but the first two bowls weren’t right for her – one was too hot, the other too cold. Are your  guests feeling the same way when they land on your website?

Goldilocks was an uninvited guest, but even when someone pops onto our site, we want them to feel welcome and hope they stay a while. That’s why it’s important to serve the right page to the right traffic.

We talked Saturday about welcoming guests to your site, and today I want to go a step further and share about segmenting your traffic into different landing pages. It sounds complicated when I word it like that, but the concept is very simple. You just serve up what they’re looking for, and your page will be “just right” every time.

Basically, there are three types of traffic – organic, paid, and return.

Paid traffic comes to your site via an ad, whether it’s from Google AdWords, Facebook or some other social network, or a banner ad from another site. These are what sales people refer to as “warm” leads. They know when they land, they’re going to get some sort of offer or request for information. It doesn’t shock them – in fact, that’s why they came.

Return traffic comes to your site because either they directly typed in your URL or clicked a bookmark. But they can also come to your site via links in an email you’ve sent or they may delve deeper into your site and visit one of your landing pages from an internal link in one of your blog posts. Again, they have chosen to be there and aren’t surprised at all.

Organic traffic, on the other hand, may not have a clue what to expect when they click on the link from a search engine results page. They are curious, to be sure, but to save them from immediately clicking the back button, we need to make them feel welcome.

How is this done? Smart marketers tweak their landing pages and create one page for each type of traffic. In other words, you make a landing page for paid leads, which would contain less introductory content and can be a bit more “just the facts, ma’am.”

Your second landing page would re-welcome your regulars. They’re already comfortable at your site and know you, so you don’t have to emphasize the know-like-trust area of your offer so much. This is the link you’d use in an email. Perhaps you may even include a discounted pay button on this page for your loyal customers.

The final landing page, which you’ve optimized to attract search traffic, is where accidental tourists land. They know nothing about you (like your regulars) and may not be expecting an offer (like those who clicked on an ad). This page requires a bit more lead nurturing through letting them know why they’re here and what they can do here and how it will help solve the problem they came seeking a solution for.

The first two landing pages (paid and return) don’t even require SEO, because you’re driving direct traffic to them.

We’ll be winding down the landing pages series and moving on to something else in the next few days. Leave your questions and comments below.

Until the next time,

Happy Blogging!

Potluck Sunday – Top Posts of Week Ending 10-14-12

red dinner plate

Another week has rolled by, and, as always, many bloggers shared some great information with us. Here are some of the blog posts I found most useful during the past week.

15 Ways to Make Your Landing Pages More Effective

Landing Page Words

15 ways to make your landing pages more effective

With all the talk we’ve done on landing pages so far this month, we haven’t really discussed what exactly to put on them – especially in regards to the writing of your landing page copy.

Yes, copy.

Landing page words fall into realm of copywriting, which, word for word, is one of the most lucrative types of writing. Since Thursday is Words Day, this post will go through give tips on how to use words in a way that will encourage your readers to take the action you want them to take.

Headline

  • Be useful – The headline of your landing page must grab the readers attention. It should offer a useful solution to your reader’s desires and dreads, while at the same time give a sense of urgency.
  • Be specific – Effective headlines focus on one thing and, if numbers are used, it’s best to be specific instead of using estimates or generalizations.

Body Copy

You want to pull the reader in, so telling your story (briefly) will help them identify immediately with you and what helped you solve the same problem/issue/challenge he is facing. There are several ways to do this:

  • Be personal – use the word “You”
  • Be concise – eliminate all unnecessary words and points
  • Be simple – don’t try to impress readers with fancy words
  • Be easy – many people skim instead of reading, especially web readers, so bullet points are more effective than large blocks of text
  • Be intriguing – make your copy interesting, fascinating
  • Be compelling – tell them “why” they need to take whatever action you desire, whether it’s downloading a free offer or buying a product – share how it will change their lives for the better and solve the big issue your headline focused on
  • Be trustworthy – check spelling and grammar – people are often wary of those who don’t pay attention to the small stuff
  • Be unique – cookie cutter copywriting won’t cut it in today’s competitive market
  • Be conversational – let them feel as if the two of you are sitting across the table sipping coffee together
  • Be clear – use specifics – don’t be vague
  • Be valuable – always think of ways to increase the value of your offer, even if it’s a free offer
  • Be urgent – inserting words such as “now” increase conversion rates
  • Be real – use photos of your business rather than stock photos

First of all, of course, you must determine what action you want readers to take when they land on your page. Then, use the above tips to bring them to take that action.

 

 

 

Intro to Landing Pages

Intro to landing pages

If you’ve been around the world of online marketing for long at all, you’ve probably heard that you need to create “landing pages” on your website. The purpose of this post is to explain what a landing page is and share why you need them. In future SEO Saturdays, I plan to post about what elements your landing page should include, how to optimize them, and how to set up your lead capture form.

What is a landing page?

A landing page, also known as a “squeeze” page or lead capture page, is simply a page that someone who comes to your site “lands” on when they get there. Most of the time, the traffic has been driving to that particular page through some sort of campaign, either social media marketing or email marketing or paid advertising or even through search engine optimization.

Most often, a landing page has something free to offer those who arrive there, such as  free white papers, reports, ebooks, free trials, webinars, or videos. You can use this “ethical bribe” to give in exchange for a visitor’s email address. Once you have their email address on your list, you can then share information about your industry with them and pitch products and/or services. (Aside: Don’t use your email list for pitches only – always give good content between pitches.)

Why do you need to create landing pages on your website?

The purpose of a landing page is to convert a site visitor to a lead. You’ve probably worked hard to set up your website and create quality content. The next step most people jump into is driving traffic. And it’s true, you need to be driving traffic to your site, but if you don’t have a means in place to convert that traffic to genuine leads, then you can’t effectively market to those leads. A landing page is the opening to your sales funnel.

Creating a specific landing page for a specific offer makes it easy on those who land on your website. If you’ve promoted a special offer via social media and led your traffic to your site’s home page, then the visitors must find where the special offer is on your site and navigate to it. This creates frustration, and unless your offer is irresistible, they will leave without taking action.

Do I need more than one landing page on my site?

I get asked that question a lot. The short answer is yes. Each landing page should provide an answer to a question or issue your audience has. By supplying answers to their problems, you’re positioning yourself as the authority in your niche. I usually suggest that my clients brainstorm the top 5 ways their business benefits their audience and prepare a free short report that helps solve each problem. Those reports will be delivered via landing pages within their site.

Once the visitor-turned-lead is on your list, then you can begin the lead nurturing process that will hopefully convert that lead into a paying customer. We’ll discuss more on this process during the month of October, as setting up your lead capture system will be the over all theme for On Blogging Well this month.

Until next time,

Happy Blogging!