Inbound & Digital Marketing Blog

A Landing Page is Not an Island

Posted by Clarke Bishop

February 28, 2012

You've got lots of traffic, but not enough conversions. It must be time to optimize your landing page -- Right?

Well, maybe! It's a mistake to jump into landing page optimization without considering the big picture. A landing page is not an island!

landing-page-optimization

Landing Page Optimization Process

As part of deciding what to test on your landing page, be sure to consider:

  • Traffic - Are you getting qualified prospects to your website?
  • Alignment - Are you suffering from message mismatch? Are keywords, ads (or calls-to-action), and landing pages aligned and consistent?
  • Offer Value - Does your offer seem like a good deal to prospects?
  • Clarity - How obvious is your call-to-action?
  • Anxiety - What might worry your landing page visitors? How can you help them relax?
  • Distraction - What might distract your visitors and keep them from moving forward?
  • Friction - What might be hard to use or confusing?
  • Urgency - Why should they convert now? 

Let's look at each of these in more detail.

Website Traffic

Do you have a high bounce rate or short time on page? Either would indicate you are getting unqualified visitors. You can't expect unqualified visitors to convert.

Recommendation: Tune your traffic to reduce unqualified visitors.

Message Alignment

Message mismatch is a common problem for inbound marketers. Let's use pay-per-click as an example.

What does the keyword imply about what a visitor expects? 

Is your ad consistent with the visitor's expectation? What promise does the ad make?

Does your landing page deliver on the promise/expectation?

Recommendation: Take a fresh look at your messaging alignment to make sure everything matches.

Bonus Recommendation: If you have two distinct segments mixed together, split them out into separate campaigns with separate landing pages.

Offer Value Proposition

Is your landing page offer valuable for the visitor? Can you make it more valuable?

To many prospects, providing their name and email address seems a reasonable price to pay for a useful PDF download. 

Give us your name and email so our salespeople can pester you is a much less valuable offer!

Recommendation: Know your prospects and their problems. Make your offers more valuable whenever possible.

Bonus Recommendation: Make sure your copy clearly explains the benefits your offer provides.

Clarity

When they want your offer, can your prospects figure out what to do?

Here's a test. Squint at your landing page. Can you still tell what to do?

Here's another test. Show your landing page to a 5-year old. Do they know what to do?

Recommendation: Use a clear landing page layout with visual cues and contrasting colors so it's easy to know what to do.

Anxiety

Might anything about your landing page or offer cause your prospect to worry?

If your visitors have concerns about what will happen after they buy your product or complete your opt-in form, your conversion rates will suffer. Know your prospects and address their concerns. 

Recommendation: Anticipate anxiety. Then, use guarantees, social proof, promises of privacy, etc. to make visitors feel comfortable.

Distraction

Are there elements on your landing pages that could be distracting your prospects?

Choices require thinking. It's work and will reduce your conversion rates. Provide one or two calls to action -- That's all.

Consider your images and design, too. Pretty images can be a distraction that take away from your conversion rates. 

Recommendation: Keep the choices to a minimum and remove unneccessary links or other distractions.

Friction

Friction is the catch all category. Are there any stumbling blocks that might be impeding the conversion?

Do you really need to know the prospect's birthday or the names of their children on your conversion form? If in doubt, leave it out!

To serve the prospect, maybe you will eventually need to know the names of their children. Just, don't ask too early in the marketing funnel. Get their name and email, add value, build trust, and then ask for the names of their children.

Recommendation: Identify and test any potential sources of friction.

Urgency

Why should your prospect take action now?

Prospects are more likely to complete the conversion when there's an immediate reason to move forward. 

Recommendation: Whenever possible, create some urgency.

Landing Page Optimization Testing

Each of the topics mentioned above can generate a rich source of possible improvements.  

Still, each audience is different, and the only way to know what really increases conversions is to structure a well-designed test. Take your best guess on what might be slowing conversions, then test.

Takeaways

Everything affects everything else in Inbound Marketing. So, look at the big picture when considering what could be reducing your conversion rates and what to test.

What do you think? How have you improved conversion lately? Leave a comment to let me know!

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Image Credit: gnuckx

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Conversion


Maximize Conversion: Advanced Landing Page Design

Posted by Clarke Bishop

February 16, 2012

It's too common to see business websites that have good traffic and still don't generate enough leads or other conversions. But, why?

You could do a Google search to discover the "proven" tips for landing page conversion:

  • Always use red for key points and buttons
  • Never use red for key points and buttons

See the problem? The reality is each audience is different -- There are no surefire rules. And even if there was a rule that worked a couple of years ago, it may not work now. People change.

The best plan is to build flexible landing pages and test to see what works for your prospects!

advanced-landing-page-design

Landing Page Design Principles

The above example is not supposed to be pretty. But it does illustrate key landing page design principles.

  • Make your landing page clear. It's harder to write clean, simple copy. Do it anyway. You may have to resist the urge to tell the visitor everything you know. When in doubt, leave it out!
  • Make the desired action crystal clear. What do you want the visitor to do? Make it obvious enough that a 5 year old could figure it out. Use visual guides like the down arrow or contrasting button color to focus the visitor's attention.
  • Know your benefits. What's in it for the visitor to complete your form? Your landing page has to sell the conversion.
  • Whenever possible, only have one action. Sometimes you have to have more. Just know, if you make the visitor think, you'll reduce your conversion rates. And choices make the visitor think!

Landing Page Design Process

Believe it or not, Powerpoint is a very good tool for the early stages of landing page design.

  • Most people already have Powerpoint, so multiple people can easily revise the design.
  • Powerpoint is easy enough for use by non-artists.
  • In the beginning, the point is to communicate. Don't waste time trying to make it pretty! Pay attention to what elements are needed to convince your visitors to convert.
  • Powerpoint has good annotation tools that will help your team collaborate.
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Designing Landing Pages for Testability

I recommend HubSpot's Enterprise version for landing pages because it makes running tests so easy. Still, you need to consider your testability needs during the design process. Again, Powerpoint can help you define and communicate your ideas.

  • Which landing page elements should be editable for testing?
  • Which elements should be fixed and not change?
  • Do you need video or other special media types? 
  • Do you think flipping the layout might help conversion? 
Don't try to answer these questions perfectly -- You can't! That's what testing is for. Take your best guess, and move forward.

Follow this process. You're more likely to end up with a flexible landing page template that will support testing and maximizing conversion. If you need to, you can always go back and modify the template to fix anything you missed.

Please let me know, how do you go about designing landing pages? Leave a comment with your ideas.

Takeways

Build testability into your landing page designs. You'll do more testing and get better conversion rates. 

Bonus takeaway: Download the Free Powerpoint Template to jump start your landing page design. Also, stay tuned for Advanced Landing Page webinars coming soon.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Conversion


What Web Analytics Say About Consumer Behavior

Posted by Clarke Bishop

May 6, 2011

Advanced Marketing Analytics (AZ501)

Interpreting your customers’ online buying behavior is not always obvious. Good sales results require an in depth understanding of their most pressing needs and wants. Some businesses focus so much on gorgeous website design, they overlook what’s most important – the data. A pretty page may be pleasing to the eyes, but if it lacks data that helps solve peoples’ problems, who cares? At the end of the day, building a website around the needs of your customers is what expands your customer base. What’s the key to knowing their needs? Knowing their intent. Web analytics tools will help you with this.

In his blog article about understanding consumer behavior with web analytics, Google’s analytics guru, Avinash Kaushik discusses how to identify customer intent. He poses 4 key questions you should answer about your website:

1. How did your visitors arrive?

Some visitors stumble upon your website by entering keywords in a search engine. Others enter via referral links. Web analytics provide you with a list of URLs that referred traffic to your site. Correlating conversions with specific referring URLs helps to identify which sites are sending you traffic with high conversion rates. Knowing which sites your customers are being referred from also helps you understand more about their interests and motivations.    

2. What are your visitors looking for?

Search engines now guard keyword data much more than in the past. Still, with a little detective work, you can get a good idea.

If you don't have Google Webmaster tools setup, go do it right now. It's the only way you can reliably get clues about what your visitors want. 

First, identify your high traffic pages. Then, look them up in webmaster tools and see which keywords are sending traffie to each page. You may be surprised and get ideas on how to tune your pages and your copy.

3. Where are visitors landing, bouncing, and viewing?

Visitors enter your website through many different entry points, not just your homepage. Analytics alert you to which landing pages visitors frequent most. If certain pages are popular with visitors, you may want to consider developing them further for even greater results. Similarly, isolating your most unpopular pages alerts you to the ones that require more optimization.  

Analytics also tell you which pages have the highest bounce rates – pages where visitors landed, looked around then left quickly. This is a clear sign that your page is not meeting customer expectations. Optimize it so it caters to their interests!

4. What are your website’s trends over time?     

Identifying performance trends is another valuable feature of analytics tools. They enable you to segment your data over timelines – you can pinpoint which days of the week or time intervals from which products sold best.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, SEO, Conversion


Inbound Marketing PR Campaign – Your PR Mission

Posted by Troy Adamson

April 20, 2011

PR for Inbound Marketing (GF402)

In HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University video, PR for Inbound Marketing, Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications eloquently sums up public relations for inbound marketing as “frequently distributing relevant content via the right channels, to boost credibility and findability.” What running a successful inbound marketing PR campaign comes down to is adding value to your buyer community. If you target the right prospects in the right places, and prove your content to be valuable for them, you’re running an effective inbound marketing PR campaign.  

Inbound Marketing PR Campaign

Image by: Fritz Park

We’ve undergone a revolution in mass media distribution. A social media explosion of blogs, podcasts, and RSS feeds now enables the common person to communicate directly with the world via social networking tools. The objective of PR for inbound marketing is to generate prospects who will convert into qualified leads. If you can draw prospects to your website where they opt-in and eventually create purchase orders, you’ve successfully completed your mission. Where do you begin? I’ll show you how:

Steps to Complete Your Inbound Marketing PR Mission

  1. Pinpoint your targets. Who are your prospects and where do they go to acquire their information? The more you know about your prospects (what they do and where), the more accurate your targeting strategy will be.
  2. Blog your targets regularly. Craft relevant blog articles your prospects are likely to find valuable and post them frequently (at least 3 times per week). Distribute your content through channels that are most likely to reach your targets. Analyze your website traffic often and tweak your SEO accordingly.
  3. Check for explosive content. Measure the relevancy of your content. Is it explosive enough? If your content is not being actively shared through the social networks or your conversion rate is dwindling, it may not be relevant enough to your target market. Reassess your target audience and figure out what they find relevant for solving their unique problems.
  4. Unleash your content arsenal. Use every social media tool at your disposal to direct your valuable content at your target audience. In addition to blog posts, leverage videos, podcasts, articles, tweets, and eBooks to promote your message. 
  5. Assess mission effectiveness. Determine which of your blogs is generating the most traffic by using Google Analytics, HubSpot’s Blog Analytics, or Technorati. When you tweet, are you using TweetReach to track just how far your words are spreading? If you’re deploying video content, use TubeMogul to spread your content across several sites.
  6. Get promoted to a higher rank. How are you ranking? Are you building enough credibility for your community to view you as an authority in your field? Prospects are unwilling to convert to qualified leads until they’re convinced that you have what it takes to solve their problems.
  7. Strategize outbound tactics. Give bloggers in your industry a reason to write about you. Bloggers not only help your search engine rankings by creating inbound links to your website, but they help promote your brand by getting its name out there in front of others.  
  8. Remove your camouflage. Get yourself found by making SEO at the forefront of everything you do. Optimize your social media content as you would your website to make it as easy as possible for your prospects to find you. The more interest you can draw, the more apt prospects will be to find you.        

Takeaways

  • Add value to your community of buyers by helping them solve their unique problems.
  • Create compelling content that prospects find interesting.
  • Leverage social media outlets to reach your audience.
  • Analyze your campaign’s effectiveness on an ongoing basis using analytics tools. 
  • Build credibility with your online community and enable your business to be found.    
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Topics: Lead Generation, Blogging, Inbound Marketing, SEO, Conversion


Inbound Marketing - Lead Nurturing

Posted by Kami Valdez

April 1, 2011

Inbound Lead Nurturing (CV201)

Would you like to generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 30% lower cost? Did I hear a resounding yes? Inbound lead nurturing makes this possible. Lead nurturing is all about building and maintaining relationships with qualified prospects regardless of where they’re at in the buying process. To retain early stage leads, it’s extremely important that you have a well-defined nurturing process laid out.

Who needs nurturing?

First, define your ideal customer profile. Isolate what type of buyer would be most interested in your product or service. To find your best prospects, make sure your target market is clearly defined. Consider how long the nurturing process will take before your prospects become sales-ready. Most prospects who visit your website are interested in checking out the products or services you offer before making a purchase decision. Your objective as a marketer is to transform them from leads into customers by keeping them engaged in relevant and personalized communication. 

Create a dialogue

When you’ve identified your prospects, it’s time to qualify them. When they land on your landing page, use your inquiry form to acquire basic yet valuable information about them. Refrain from using a form that asks too many questions – being bombarded with too many questions too early on in the buying process is a big turnoff for prospects. Set up an automated inquiry email response so prospects receive an immediate acknowledgment in their inbox. Subsequent email should be crafted in a way that conveys relevant and personalized dialogue. Its content should not only demonstrate your expertise, but should contain information prospects need in order to move forward in their buying process. Gauge closely where your leads are in the buying process and develop your email track around it. 

Cultivate relationships

Unlike email blasting, lead nurturing offers precise targeting. When leads fill out your inquiry form, they’re revealing specifics about their interest in your offerings. This is valuable data you can use to cater to their individualized needs in subsequent nurturing emails. Once leads express interest, develop your relationship further. Send them additional content that illustrates how your expertise can help solve their problems. If you cultivate leads during the early stages and intensify their interest with compelling content, they’re far more likely to become buying customers. 

 

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Conversion


Inbound Marketing - Landing Page Landings

Posted by Kami Valdez

March 21, 2011

Calls to Action & Landing Page Best Practices (CV101)

Did you know you can double or even triple your conversion rates by making just a few simple adjustments to your landing pages? Landing page optimization is one of the easiest ways to boost your website’s performance. To motivate a customer to buy, sometimes all it takes is making a small change to a button or tweaking a headline.

Inbound Marketing Landing Page Landings

Image by: egmTacahopeful

Try it for Free!

The first thing to know about landing pages is that they need to convey a call to action – your page needs to create a sense of urgency. Use persuasive language that stirs consumer emotions and compels them to take action! Be specific about the action you want them to take. When visitors click on a button that says, “Get your free eBook here,” ensure that the button redirects them to a page where they can actually get their free eBook. Some marketers create deception by creating buttons that redirect visitors to a page completely unrelated to the button they clicked on. Bad idea! This only frustrates people and prompts them to go elsewhere. Instill trust in customers by being genuine about your calls to action. Follow through and give customers what you say you’re going to give them.

Make it clickable and colorful!

When creating calls to action, use clickable, eye catching images to direct people to your landing pages. It’s good practice to make an entire ad image clickable – it reduces confusion about where to click. If your images are interesting enough, people won’t be able to resist clicking on them! It’s also good form to use consistent visual style between the clickable ad image and your landing page. Color is important! You want your colors to compliment each other nicely. Make sure there’s stark contrast between words and the background they’re placed upon. Colors should make sense – if your call to action button says something like, “Save money now,” it would make good sense to use a green color so people will subconsciously associate it with money. Also, if you have multiple buttons on a single page, make each one a different color – this will allow visitors to easily differentiate between them.

Is your customer having happy landings?

Arrange your landing page layout so it's simple and well organized. Your most important information should be placed at the top of the page. Visitors should not have to use the scrollbar to find your most valuable content. Strategically place your buttons in locations that are easy to find. People hate wasting valuable time searching for stuff! So, a word of wisdom – make things as easy as possible for your customers to find. Don’t force them to go hunting for it or they just might use their “Back” button! From time to time, check the functionality of your buttons to make sure they’re pointing to the right locations. Again, consider the frustration factor – people have little tolerance for broken links. Preserve your professional reputation by maintaining connectivity to all links. Also, monitor the effectiveness of your calls to action. If one call to action is not generating traffic, switch it out for another one. Experiment until you get the results you’re looking for.

Which flight path is your landing page taking?

When designing a landing page, place yourself in the shoes of your customer, “Why am I on this page and where is it supposed to take me?” Make sure that you’re fulfilling the primary purposes of the page – creating enough urgency that it prompts visitors to take action, and pointing them to where you want them to go. Just in case visitors missed your primary call to action at the top of your page, place a secondary call to action at the bottom. Make your page navigation clear and easy for people to understand and you’ll get them where you want them to go. Check out Jacob Gube’s blog for some good examples of call to action buttons.    

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Conversion


Increase Conversion Rates - Strategy or Tactics

Posted by Clarke Bishop

February 19, 2011

On LinkedIn,  Simran Gupta asked about strategies to increase conversion rates on a website. Unfortunately, when you ask the question this way, people start thinking about eBooks, opt-in forms, email marketing, and all the other tactics that live in the world of online marketing.

Increase Conversion Rate StrategyImage By: HikingArtist.com

Serve Your Prospects to Increase Conversion

What I see all the time, is that effective online lead generation isn't about the tactics - Chat panels, inquiry forms, or any of the web widgets you might put on your site.

Instead, focus on your prospects. What are they really looking for? How do they define their problem? Show that you care and are available to help and the opt-ins will flow in.

Steps to Increase Conversion Rates

  1. Develop a persona that personalizes and describes your ideal prospect. Give your persona a name and a personality.
  2. Research keywords to have a great idea what keywords your target persona would use when searching for a solution.
  3. Create valuable web content that educates your target persona, and helps them solve their problems. Blogging is an excellent way to create content and get found on the Internet.
  4. Create relevant offers for your visitors - Report downloads, eBooks, etc. The important thing is not the tactic of having a PDF download. What is important is having valuable and relevant information to download.
  5. Add relevant Call To Action opt-in buttons to your content so your visitors can provide their email address and learn more.
  6. Continue to follow-up to add value and educate.

Takeaways

  • Add value and help your prospects and the opt-ins will follow.
  • Focus on knowing your prospects and helping them solve their problems.
  • Don't worry about the specific technologies

Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Conversion


WordPress with HubSpot or Infusionsoft Web Forms

Posted by Clarke Bishop

June 11, 2009

Greased Skid Marketing is now part of Inbound Team --The Atlanta, Georgia Inbound Marketing Agency specializing in helping businesses grow with online marketing.

Conrad asked about using Infusionsoft web forms inside of WordPress:

Can I put Infusionsoft forms in a Wordpress blog?

Is there a plug-in?

This is actually quite easy, and here's a movie that shows you how to use Infusionsoft Web Forms in WordPress: 

Basically, the steps are:

  • Create the Web Form in Infusionsoft
  • Click the "Gimme the Code" button, select all (ctrl-A), and copy (ctrl-c)
  • Create a WordPress Post or Page and click the HTML tab in the WordPress editor
  • Paste in the Infusionsoft web form code
  • Edit the web form code to clean it up or style it if you want
  • Switch back to Visual mode and add other text, images, etc.
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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Infusionsoft, Conversion


Tracking User Responses with Infusionsoft and Google Analytics

Posted by Clarke Bishop

March 22, 2009

Greased Skid Marketing is now part of Inbound Team --The Atlanta, Georgia Inbound Marketing Agency specializing in helping businesses grow with online marketing.

Infusionsoft is great for managing your customers and opportunities. And it automates the follow-up process that is frequently broken in small companies!

Still, some of the tracking and reporting functions could be better. I know Infusionsoft is working on some improvements, but in the meantime, here's a way to use Google Analytics to track user responses. Here's what you do:

  1. Create a "Trackable Link" in Infusionsoft. (You probably already know how, but if not, enter a question and I'll do a post on it!)
  2. In the Trackable Link, add Google Analytics tags to the URL like this:http://www.InboundTeam.com?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=tracking
  3. Merge the Trackable Link into your eMail follow-up messages.

Your eMail audience will receive a message with the Infusionsoft link. When they click, Infusionsoft will forward them to the link and include the Google Analytics tags. Then, inside Google Analytics, you can see how many people clicked the link, where they went on your site, etc. Even better, Google Analytics stores the tags in a cookie, and can report on conversions and transactions based on the tracking tags!

Google provides a handy URL Builder tool that makes it easier to create the URL. Really, all you need to decide is what information you want to track. Typically, you might have:

  • utm_medium: This says how the message got to the user. For an email message, you might just set this to email.
  • utm_source: This indicates who the user is. You might set it to the name of one of your segments.
  • utm_campaign: This indicates the campaign or follow-up sequence the message belongs to.

One more thing. When you create the Trackable Link in Infusionsoft, you will often want to add an action to tag the person.That way, you can see who is interested in which topics. This is how you can actually automate the process of getting to know your customers.

For an example of how all this works, go to InboundTeam-Infusionsoft.  Enter your information and click Download. Don't worry about a flood of spam, you'll get a message asking how frequently you want to hear from us again. And one option is to not send more information!

Behind the scenes, each of the links is trackable and assigns a tag. Each link also has the Google Analytics tracking.

Happy Tracking!

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Conversion


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