Inbound & Digital Marketing Blog

New Year's Resolution: Be Remarkable in 2016

Posted by Clarke Bishop

December 31, 2015

Will you join me in making a new year's resolution?

I promise to make my company remarkable in 2016.

If not, go cut out your marketing budget. You’ll just be wasting money. Marketing, especially inbound marketing, won’t work well unless you’re remarkable.

re·mark·a·ble
rəˈmärkəb(ə)l
adjective: remarkable
  1. worthy of attention; striking.
  2. worth making a remark about.

Yes, remarkable means something that’s striking or worth noticing. But, it also means something that’s worth making a remark about—worth talking about.

Very good is bad—it’s still average. Anyone who’s been around for a while is very good. To channel Donald Trump, “Average is for losers.”

Average is for Losers

A few of you are thinking, “Great, I am already remarkable, now what?” Most of you are wondering, “How in the world can I make my company remarkable?” Keep reading, and I’ll answer both questions.

How to be remarkable

Step 1. Who Actually Cares?

No matter what, you can’t be remarkable for everyone. People have different preferences and will respond to different remarkables.

Instead, you have to choose who you want to serve and learn who actually cares. Pull out your Precise Prospect Profile. If you don’t have a prospect profile, make a second resolution to: Create My Precise Prospect Profile in the first quarter of 2016. Need Help? Download the Precise Prospect Profile kit.

Focus on your ideal prospect. They should care passionately about your business. If not, you’ve got a “nice to have” product or service. Work on becoming indispensable.

Before going too far, I’ll go ahead and tell you the bad news. If you want to be remarkable, you’re going to annoy some people. It’s weird, but to have some people love you, you have to accept that some will hate you. Sorry.

It’s not safe or comfortable to be remarkable. It is, however, highly profitable.

Step 2. Deliver a Micro-Remarkable

Here’s a good practice. Do something small that makes a difference. Take an existing customer and create something remarkable.

Choose the customer because they are important to you, have been with you for a long time, or because they represent your ideal customer.

Even better, involve them in the process. Develop some potential remarkables internally. Then, go to the customer, present the remarkables, and ask them to select the best one.

Go further. Ask them to help you expand the potential remarkables list. Deliver on one or all of them if you can. They will eagerly tell their friends.

Delivering micro-remarkables is an excellent practice. Do it on an ongoing basis. You’ll delight your customers and become adept at seeing new remarkables.

Step 3. What Do Customers Hate About Your Company or Industry?

Every industry has accepted practices and ways of doing things. And some customers absolutely hate the way the products or services are delivered.

How many of you feel good about getting an itemized bill from an attorney showing tenths of an hour billed at $400 per hour?

Some of you are thinking, “Yea, I know they hate _____, but it has to be that way because …”  Does it really? Could you do things differently, erase the annoyance, and increase your profits? It takes creativity, but there’s often a way.

Step 4. Edgecrafting

Seth Godin wrote about being remarkable in The Purple Cow. Later on, he coined the phrase, “edgecrafting.”

Remarkability lies in the edges. The biggest, fastest, slowest, richest, easiest, most difficult. It doesn't always matter which edge, more that you're at (or beyond) the edge.Seth Godin

You can get an overview of Seth’s ideas by watching his TED video:

Here’s how edgecrafting works. Find the edges of a product, a service, or a problem. Then, explore ways to shift the edge. As Seth points out, push the edge way out to create a competitive advantage.

This work is very specific to each company and market, so it’s hard to provide a great example. To know more, schedule a Remarkability Audit for your company. It’s free, and you’ll get at least one potential remarkable to evaluate.

Edgecrafting Strategy Canvas

Another way to do edgecrafting is to create a strategy canvas positioning diagram. Map the relevant dimensions of a market on a graph like the example below. What happens if you completely eliminate a dimension, or max out a dimension? What if you add something totally new to the mix?

In this example our company (Shown with an Orange Line) is similar to the industry (Blue Line) in dimension 1 and dimension 3. But, our company has reduced dimension 2 and significantly raised dimension 4.

Each dimension is a property of the product or service. Things like price, speed, or quality. Any dimension that matters is fair game.

  • Speed
  • Price
  • Experience
  • Stories
  • Quality or Features
  • Vision
  • Culture
  • Anything different that makes a difference (that matters).

Positioning - Strategy Canvas

 

Step 5. Why Are You in Business?

Look at “why.” Why are you in business? Why do your customers buy your product or service? Why did you start the business? Focus on the emotional reasons that go beyond profits.

At Inbound Team, we’re in business because we can’t stand to see companies struggle due to lack of leads. That's our "why."

Keep it simple. Look at this from a child’s perspective. Imagine that you are explaining what you do to a young child.

What change are you trying to make in your customers? Who do you want your customers to become? What change do you want to make for your customers and for the world?

Be human. Be connected. Be generous. Take a chance. Do something that might not work.

Find an idea where you’re afraid someone will say, “How dare you!” That’s how you’ll know you’re on the right track.

Step 6. Play the Remarkable Game

The remarkable game is great fun and it keeps you in practice. Pay attention as you encounter the world. Notice what works. How could each organization be more remarkable.

Go to a restaurant. What would make your experience more remarkable? What if they knew your name, read your mind, and knew exactly want you wanted to eat? What else could they do that would make your visit remarkable?

What would make your next internal meeting remarkable? How might your company culture be more remarkable?

Step 7. Tell Your Remarkable Story

Once you’re different, make sure to tell the story–get your messages clear and aligned. Does the home page on your website tell the story?

Companies that sell to other businesses often struggle to communicate effectively. A lot of context is required, so the explanation becomes too long and too complex.  

Having a good story is one way to cut through the complexity. Tell a story about one small part of your product or service. It will make prospects curious to hear more.

All stories are invented, and it’s okay to be creative and embellish the details. Human beings love stories and your company is full of stories just waiting to be told. Create your remarkables and find the stories that will help your prospects hear and understand.

You Are Remarkable, But You Aren’t Done Yet

Now you’ve found or invented some great remarkables. Cool, but you aren’t done yet.

Being remarkable is an ongoing practice. Your competitors will steal remarkables where they can (this is also called “progress”). You have to constantly invent new remarkables. Welcome to the 21st century.

Review your remarkables and update your positioning chart regularly—once or twice a year. Keep looking for ways you can change the world.

And keep finding new stories that showcase your remarkables.

Takeaways

  • Be remarkable or invisible—your choice.
  • Being remarkable takes work. It’s some of the hardest work you’ll do in business. Do it anyway!
  • You may have remarkables you are taking for granted. It’s easy to be so close to your company that you can’t see. Get a remarkability audit for help seeing who you really are.
  • Take the challenge and promise to make your company remarkable in 2016.

Remarkability Audit

This is hard. Don’t get stuck. Get a Remarkability Audit, and I’ll help you discover your remarkables.

Get My Remarkability Audit

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Topics: Small Business Marketing, Inbound Marketing


Top Secret for Boosting Your Sales in 2016

Posted by Kami Valdez

December 8, 2015

Most business owners have an ideal customer in mind. But far too many of them only scratch the surface when it comes to describing that person.

They create buyer personas, but they are poorly developed. It is not uncommon for this to be little more than a writing exercise.

This persona gives a general idea of who their ideal customer is, but is far too generic to be of any real use.

Buyer_Persona_Precise_Prospect_Profile.jpg

We work with many small businesses, and most of them know their prospects only at a surface level.

The key is to have very precise targeting and really know your prospects. Knowing your prospects makes finding them and building rapport much easier and faster.

You need a Precise Prospect Profile.

A Precise Prospect Profile describes your ideal prospect completely and clearly—the center of the bullseye. Having the bullseye gives you a target—a place to aim your marketing. It exists to make your marketing effective and have your prospects hear you.

Your Precise Prospect Profile gives you a competitive advantage. Because you know your prospects better than your competitors, you can acquire new customers more efficiently.

You must know your prospects. Start by thinking about the best customers you already have. What are they like?

Consider things like:

  • What characteristics do they share?
    • Are they around the same age
    • Do they have life situations in common like young kids
  • How do they talk about their pains and problems?
  • What questions do they ask?
  • What words do they use? The words matter.
  • What triggers them to buy?
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What else do they care about?

Now you're on your way to developing a Precise Prospect Profile for your ideal customers, but you're not there yet. There are a few more steps. No worries! We'll help walk you through it.

Click Free Download now and we’ll immediately send you our Precise Prospect Profile Kit. It’s everything you need to fully develop your buyer personas, get more leads, and boost your sales.

Precise Prospect Profile Kit

At Inbound Team, we love helping small businesses use digital marketing to grow. If you need help with your Precise Prospect Profile or just want ideas to grow your company, click to get a free Lead Boost Review.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Small Business Marketing, Content Marketing


Inbound Sales:  The Effective Inbound Sales Process

Posted by Kami Valdez

December 1, 2015

Content plays a key role during the sales process. It’s not just for the marketing phase. Content gives you an excuse to be in touch and multiple touch points means more rapport.

The more a lead engages with your business, the deeper that connection grows. 

In complex sales, use your content to sell across the prospect’s company. Continue providing content after the sale to maximize customer delight.

Inbound_Sales_Super_Guide.png
Also, to make this process run smoothly, you need a good CRM that captures pre-sales qualified lead data and informs the salesperson. Use this data to target content to the right individuals. Identify key pain points an individual is facing, and use that information to formulate your pitches.

Finally, analyze your prospects’ marketing actions to decide the best way to close the sale, or to continue building a connection until those leads are ready to buy.

Build your inbound selling skills using the Inbound Sales Super Guide. Download the guide and make the shift to Inbound Sales today. 

Inbound Sales Super Guide

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Sales & CRM, Content Marketing


How to Quickly Boost B2B Sales

Posted by Clarke Bishop

November 24, 2015

All business owners want more leads, and I’m going to teach you how to Quickly Boost B2B sales. Watch the video or scroll down and read  ...


Download Your Precise Prospect Profile Kit.

I'm going to give you all the specifics, but first there's something you need to understand:

Buyers Have Changed

Buyers have changed and they don’t behave like they used to.
That’s why it seems like marketing and sales keep getting harder.

For the specifics, read the CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing.

Everybody, today, has unlimited infomation at their fingertips. Through their browser, their smartphone, their social networks. We’re all surrounded by data.

Buyers have changed

Because of this, Buyers have gotten control over the sales process. Many refuse to engage with salespeople except on their terms.

What does this mean for you? You can’t keep doing the same old sales and marketing techniques and expect good results.

Instead, give buyers what they want! Provide useful and educational information to help buyers do their job, answer their questions, and help them feel good about your company.

All these technology changes mean we have to come at sales and marketing differently.

Still, there’s some really good news. Prospects are more reachable than ever. Over 90% of working age Americans are on the Internet. They’re only one click away from becoming a lead.

Quickly Boost B2B Sales—the Secret

The key is to have very precise targeting and really know your prospects.

Why? Knowing your prospects makes finding them and building rapport much, much easier and faster.

I work with many small businesses. Most of them know their prospects at a surface level. But, they don't know their prospects well enough to accellerate their sales and marketing.

Let's fix that for you. Here are the steps. Start by thinking about the best customers you already have. What are they like?

Consider things like:

  • What characteristics do they share?
    • Are they around the same age
    • Do they have life situations in common like young kids
  • How do they talk about their pains and problems?
  • What questions do they ask?
  • What words do they use? The words matter.
  • What triggers them to buy?
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What else do they care about?

Now you know exactly who you’re looking for. We call it a Precise Prospect Profile.

Precise Prospect Profile Kit

More great customers—the ones that are more profitable and
just more fun. The fastest way to boost your B2B sales results.

Download Your Precise Prospect Profile Kit.

Whatever you do, don’t get caught up in chasing marketing tactics. Know your ideal prospect, and use that knowledge to pick the most effective tactics.

Because you know your precise target, you know their problems and questions. So, you know exactly what content to create. There’s simply no such thing as writer's block when you really know your ideal prospect.

Even better. You’ll also know the best ways to connect with your top prospects because you know where they hang out.

Do they search on Google? Then optimize your pages to attract search visitors.

Are they on Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn? OK, connect with prospects via Social sites.

Do you get your best prospects through referrals or targeted outreach? Great! They’ll want to check out your website anyway.

All the ways you create content and get visitors. These are all tactics.

Just know that everything gets faster and easier when you have a Precise Prospect Profile.

So, I’m going to help you profile your top prospects. Click Free Download, and I’ll send you our Precise Prospect Profile Kit. It’s everything needed to boost your sales and start creating great leads.

Precise Prospect Profile Kit

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Topics: Lead Generation, Sales & CRM


Inbound Sales: How To Align Sales & Marketing

Posted by Kami Valdez

November 24, 2015

When shifting to Inbound Sales make sure your marketing and sales teams are on the same page. They should have the same goals in mind, be working together, and understand each other’s role in the process.

Inbound Sales: How To Align Sales & Marketing 

Your teams can do this in three main ways:

  1. Decide on definitions.
  2. Keep Marketing and Sales accountable.
  3. Survey Sales to help Marketing create more targeted content.

Let’s break them down:

1. Decide on Definitions

Your teams need to agree on four main definitions:

  1. Leads
  2. Inbound Leads
  3. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
  4. Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

Regular leads are shots in the dark. Your team doesn’t have any background information on them, and you don’t know where they are in the buying process. These are the “leads of old.” They come from buying email lists, random outreach, etc.

Inbound leads, on the other hand, are backed by information. You know where they are in the buying process and your team knows how to reach out to them.

Next up are Marketing Qualified Leads. These leads are in the right industry for your business and have pain points and goals that your business can cater to. 

Finally, your teams need to decide what characteristics determine a Sales Qualified Lead. SQLs are all about the right actions like call requests, downloading bottom-of-the-funnel content and visiting sales pages. Through the actions they take, your sales team knows exactly which people are more likely to buy.

2. Keep Marketing and Sales Accountable

To align Sales and Marketing, you want to eliminate as much friction between them as possible. One way is to establish lead transfer metrics and and other processes that keep both of your teams accountable. 

First, determine how many leads Marketing will deliver in a given time period. This could be each day, in a week, a month — whatever works best for your business.

Make sure you’re also doing quarterly, monthly, and yearly reviews to help your team track their progress and plan future growth.

Finally, Marketing should be open about sharing lead intelligence with Sales:

  • The content your leads have downloaded
  • What types of emails they’ve engaged with
  • The pages they’ve visited

This information is vital to your sales team’s ability to do their jobs effectively.

3. Help Marketing Create More Targeted Content by Surveying Sales

This is how you establish a feedback loop that makes the entire process run more smoothly.

Just like Marketing should relay lead intelligence to Sales, Sales should relay how leads are reacting to their content back to Marketing.

Your marketing team should then find out what their sales process entails, what characterizes a high and low quality lead, and the top reasons a lead doesn’t close.

Marketing can use this information to create more targeted content, which will make Sales more effective (and happier).

In the end, if your sales and marketing team are fully knowledgeable about the process and the lead, the customer will feel valued at every stage of the conversion process. 

To learn more about aligning your sales and marketing teams, download the Inbound Sales Super Guide and make the shift to Inbound Sales today. 

Inbound Sales Super Guide

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Sales & CRM, Content Marketing


Inbound Sales: Buyers Hold The Power

Posted by Kami Valdez

November 18, 2015

Salespeople used to hold most of the knowledge about their products and services. They were the educators. These days, buyers do their own research, read online reviews, and talk to their peers before ever speaking to a salesperson.

Inbound Sales: Buyers Hold The Power

Buyers hold the power, and today’s business to business buyers respond best to a consultative sales process.

Companies, marketers, and salespeople have to adapt to this change in consumer behavior. Marketing has made major shifts through Inbound Marketing. Salespeople are now charged with making the shift to Inbound Sales.

Inbound Sales focuses on aligning Sales and Marketing so they are both focused on increasing sales and working together in an inbound world.

Instead of overpowering buyers with your pitch about how great your company or product is, you need to ask questions and listen to better understand your prospect’s “pain”. Then, use the information you gather to present your services as the solution.

Think about how a doctor asks questions and allows patients to discuss what they feel and then follows up with more questions. It’s best to listen to your prospect so you can gather vital information needed to solve their problems.

It’s about teaching sales people to use content and buyer intelligence so they can structure sales conversations to reflect the buyer’s situation and interests. This helps them know which topics and types of content prospects are interested in and which ones are doing the best job of closing sales. Using this information helps you develop a sales conversation that focuses on the buyer’s issues.

In a consultative sales process, listening to prospects and being focused on helping them is of utmost importance. It’s about their needs, their issues, and the help they need from you to become educated buyers who trust your business and are comfortable making a purchase.

Inbound Sales is based around this premise: 

Each prospect has a unique journey to follow in their buying process. 

It’s the inbound salesperson’s job to facilitate this journey.

Build your inbound selling skills using the Inbound Sales Super Guide. Download the guide and make the shift to Inbound Sales today. 

Inbound Sales Super Guide

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Sales & CRM, Content Marketing


Attract Readers With Powerful Headlines and Optimized Content

Posted by Kami Valdez

October 31, 2015

Do you struggle to write great headlines and optimize your content to attract more readers? If your headline does not grab the attention of your prospect, your content won't be read. If your content is not optimized correctly, search engines won't find it and you won't gain traffic. 

Online content creation is difficult. There's a lot to it. Fortunately, there are some excellent tools available to help you maximize your effort. In the article Tools to Help You Optimize Blog Headlines and Content at ProBlogger.com, top tools are listed that will help you create powerful headlines and optimized content for increased visibility. 

Attract Readers With Powerful Headlines and Optimized Content

All the tools listed in this article can help you develop your headlines and optimize your content. For even more marketing information, read the CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing and learn how to create and execute your own 2016 marketing strategy.

 CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing

Are there other headline and content tools you've found helpful? Share your favorites with everyone in the comments!

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Topics: Blogging, Inbound Marketing, SEO, Content Marketing


Inbound Marketing Checklist for Your Next Trade Show

Posted by Kami Valdez

October 29, 2015

Recently, we compared inbound marketing with trade shows. Then, I came across a great article from our friends at Square2 Marketing about how to maximize trade show success with inbound marketing.

If you attend your industry's top trade show, you may invest $10,000, $20,000, or more. Do you want to spend that money for your people to stand around in a booth and collect business cards? Or, would you actually like to get some real leads and have that event pay off?

Trade_Shows_Inbound_Marketing

Inbound marketing can help you have a completely different experience at your next tradeshow. If you take an inbound approach, it will be money well spent.

Planning is key for your event to be considered a real success. You need to start planning for your event 8-12 weeks in advance.

Create your schedule first. Start backwards from the day of the event, and plan your pre-show, in-show, and post-show marketing tactics. Once the plan is complete, assign the individual tasks to your team.

Inspired by the Square2 article, I made a handy checklist you can use for your next trade show. If you need help with any of this, don't hesitate to call and talk to us—inbound marketing is our passion!Trade Show Marketing Checklist

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Sales & CRM, Content Marketing


Inbound Marketing: The Definitive Guide

Posted by Kami Valdez

October 17, 2015

Since 2006, inbound marketing has been the most effective marketing method for doing business online. Inbound marketing brings visitors to you. It earns the attention of customers, makes your company easy to find, and draws prospects to your website with interesting content.

Inbound marketing is all about attracting visitors (with high-quality, targeted content) and nurturing them until they're ready to buy. 

Inbound Marketing: The Definitive Guide

But inbound marketing is not something you can learn in a day or two. It requires a very diverse, yet specific skill set that you must learn and develop. 

We've gathered articles on every inbound skill you need to learn and put them in one easy to use guide. From lead generation to SEO, this guide has got you covered.

Read the Definitive Guide to Inbound Marketing and learn:

  1. The Basics of Inbound Marketing
  2. How To Create Content That Attracts The Right Prospects
  3. How To Drive Boatloads of Hungry Traffic To Your Website
  4. Long Term Inbound Marketing: SEO Techniques From The Pros
  5. Strategies That Convert Prospects Into Leads
  6. Sales Funnel Tactics: Close Leads Into Customers
  7. How To Keep Your Customers Coming Back For More
  8. Inbound Marketing Success Metrics
  9. Advanced Inbound Marketing Skills
  10. Inbound Marketing Case Studies

Inbound Marketing: The Definitive Guide

Making the switch from traditional, outbound marketing to inbound marketing can seem a little overwhelming at times, but the benefits are indisputable. The sooner you can learn the skills you need and take action, the sooner you will be reaping the rewards of inbound marketing—more leads, at a lower cost.

To learn more about Inbound Marketing Strategy, and to get a complete evaluation of your situation, schedule a Free Lead Boost Review.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing


Website Redesign Real World Case Study

Posted by Clarke Bishop

October 15, 2015

We’ve just redesigned our website. Go ahead and take a look at inboundteam.com.

At the risk of losing my membership in the secret inbound marketing society, I’m going to expose the entire beautiful and sometimes ugly process.

Website Redesign Real World Case Study

When is it time for a redesign?

Clients frequently ask, “How do you know it’s time to redesign your website?”

Here’s the quick answer. If it’s over a year old, it’s time for a review.

Web trends and requirements change very quickly.

  • Who knew a few years ago that over half your Internet traffic would now come from smartphones and you’d have to have a mobile-friendly responsive site?
  • Who knew that longer scrolling pages would become the trend and that ideas like, “above the fold” would become obsolete?
  • Who knew that websites would need to have much less text and much more compelling images?

Buyers that use smartphones have caused much of the required changes. If one thing's certain, it’s that technology will keep disrupting business!

Website Updates—How Often?

Another common question is, “How often should you change your site?”

The answer? Continuously.

Sorry if that sounds like too much work. It’s still the truth even if it is a lot of work.

If you want to get results from inbound marketing, you have to consistently improve your inbound marketing engine. Website content and design. Lead-generating landing pages. Keywords. Blog articles. Calls to Action. All of these age and have to be updated.

Website Improvement Process

Each page of your website should be a mini-salesperson. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting any high-traffic pages.

For each and every page, know why the page is there and what next step you want the visitor to take.

  • Which persona are you writing for?
  • How do you want to position your company?
  • What’s the message/story?
  • What do you want the visitor to do?

Step-by-Step Redesign Example

For the Inbound Team home page, here were our objectives:

  • Which persona: CEO Charlie. Charlie is our ideal client. He’s the CEO of a growing company with at least $5M in revenue. Having predictable sales growth is a critical priority.

  • Positioning: Too many inbound agencies look and feel the same. We are actually a little odd in that we have a lot of business creativity. Even though all inbound marketing agencies use similar tactics, it’s the way you combine all the tactics that matters—that’s where we shine.

  • Message/Story: Many CEOs don’t fully see the magnitude of the threat (and opportunity) caused by digital disruption and a changed buying process. You can either get ahead of the competition now, at a critical moment, or fall behind.

    Our key messages are:
    • Jump the Competition with an Inbound Marketing Engine
    • Buyers Have Changed. Either adapt or lose out to your competitors.

  • Desired Action: We want visitors to first be curious and intrigued with our company. If they are interested and want to learn more, they can:

Why the Retro Images?

Our idea was that the retro images would accentuate how much the world has changed. And, they would be interesting and different.

I do think the images are interesting and different. Still, we’ve gotten some feedback that we may have gone too far and that the images are from too long ago. This could erode our position as thought leaders. What do you think?

We're thinking of changing out the images already. See what I mean about continuously updating your website?

What’s Next?

We had a bunch of great ideas we had to drop for now. Especially with inbound marketing, it’s better to get something done fast and make it better over time.

We have plans for some better images, for a blog preview on the home page, changing the navigation, and for further improving the design.

Even though we were primarily focused on the home page, we uncovered several weaknesses in other pages. Yet more items we need to work on and continuously improve.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of our new site. Really! Do it now.

Takeaways

  • If your home page is more than one year old, it may need a makeover. At least be sure to give it a full review and identify any weaknesses.
  • Have clear objectives for each and every page on your website.
  • Always be looking for potential improvements and keep a list of improvement actions for each page.

If you’re thinking about what’s missing on your website, schedule a free Lead Boost Review. We’ll include a review of your home page.

Schedule Lead Boost Review

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Topics: Inbound Marketing