Category Archive Landing Pages

By

How to Kick Your Email List Building out of a Plateau #bigcitymarketinggroup

Every business owner eventually experiences growth stagnation.

It can happen with sales. And it can happen with your email list.

I’ve been there.

You feel stumped.

Your email list isn’t growing.

What can you possibly do to kick yourself out of this rut?

Well, the exciting news is, you’ve got several options.

Some of them are a fresh take on conventional list-building strategies. Others require you to think outside the box.

In this article, I’ll lay out the most effective techniques for you. You’ll walk away with a step-by-step plan to ramp up your email list.

Before we get into these strategies, I’ve got some crucial advice.

It is imperative that you block and tackle.

What does that mean?

When you’re trying to overcome a period of stagnation in business, it’s important that you put all your energy towards getting out of that rut.

Block a 30-60 day window on your schedule, and tackle only list building during that period.

Nothing else.

Building an email list is fundamental to the success of your business.

The relationship you’ll nurture with your subscribers will determine the revenue-generating power of your business.

In fact, the average email marketer sees a 94% return on investment.

Email Marketing Keep It Clean The Importance of Email List Hygiene Infographic MarketingProfs Article

The strategies you’ll learn in this article will allow you to put your list building on autopilot. It means the time you take to focus on this one thing will be time well spent.

Let’s jump in.

1. Discover your lead magnet opportunities

It doesn’t matter what list-building strategy you’re using. It doesn’t matter which audience you’re targeting.

All list-building roads lead to your lead magnet.

Nobody will give you their email address without receiving an attractive offer in return.

Like this:

Smart Blogger

With that said, the first step is to pick out incentives your target audience would want.

Put these steps into action to determine what that is.

Step #1: What does your audience want?

Think about the ultimate result. If you double-down on their biggest pain point, this won’t be difficult to come up with.

Step #2: What is your overarching solution to helping them get what they want?

Think about the big picture.

For example, if you’re a business coach, your ultimate goal may be to get your clients to bring in more sales and greater profits.

Step #3: What are the small steps required to deliver that ultimate solution?

In keeping with the example above, the small steps can be:

  • build an email list
  • have a content marketing plan
  • launch a product
  • set up evergreen sales funnels
  • hire a virtual assistant

Your best free content lies in these small steps.

It will help you create an offer your audience wants. It will also ensure you give away something that will give them an immediate win.

This is super important for lead magnets.

You want subscribers to consume the content, implement it, and achieve a positive result.

Now that you have an idea of what your audience will benefit from, it’s time to create something concrete.

2. Create your free incentives to attract your ideal audience

I’ll cut to the chase.

Four strategies work exceptionally well.

Strategy #1: Pick out your top performing posts and create content upgrades.

Content upgrades are quickly becoming the gold standard for list building.

Brian Dean boosted his conversions by 785% using content upgrades.

How To Boost Conversions by 785 in One Day The Content Upgrade

Here is how to do that:

  1. Go through your analytics.
  2. Select the blog posts that have gotten the most traffic and engagement.
  3. Create an incentive specific to that piece of content.

Let’s say you write a post “How to Write Blog Posts That Rank on Google’s First Page.”

You can create an “SEO checklist” as a content upgrade and place it within your blog post.

Here’s an example:

6 Step Sales funnel we used to make 220 750 from our online course

The chances of someone signing up to receive this upgrade? Sky high.

It adds to the value of your post as it gives readers a valuable resource to implement what you just discussed.

Strategy #2: Create a brand-specific lead magnet

This is an incentive that stands on its own.

It’s not tied to any piece of content, and it should have a mass appeal.

I don’t mean that it must be geared towards everyone on the Internet. But people in your target market should be attracted by your brand-specific free offer.

Here are some examples:

  • an email course
  • a challenge
  • a resource library
  • an ultimate guide
  • a Facebook group or other online community
  • a content series, e.g., a video series or a blog post series
  • a toolkit

Strategy #3: Create a lead magnet that prepares your customer for a purchase

Most people talk about the first two strategies. But many leave out the most important one.

You must have a lead magnet that is connected to your premium offers.

This applies to a physical product, a service, or an informational product.

This type of a lead magnet is often (not always) smaller and quick to consume. This way, you give subscribers an appetite for your paid product.

For physical products and software, it’s easy to come up with an incentive. You can give away a coupon code, a free trial, etc.

Like Curology does:

Curology Custom Acne Treatment

Here’s a good rule of thumb for info-products and services:

  • your free content can give away the “Why” and the “What”
  • your paid content can be geared towards the “How”

Let’s look at an example from Jeff Walker.

He offers a premium program that helps entrepreneurs launch a product.

It’s called Product Launch Formula.

Home Jeff Walker

His free incentive is a “Launch workshop,” which is directly tied to his paid product.

And that’s what I mean by preparing your customer for a purchase.

This is a smart way to build a warm list of potential buyers.

Strategy #4: Create a promotional lead magnet

The last technique is to run a promotion.

This is where you use a giveaway to accelerate your list building.

When you implement this well, it works wonders. But I’ll admit: it isn’t my favorite strategy.

Why?

For one, it isn’t evergreen.

This isn’t something you can set and forget.

You run your promotion for a particular period. During that time, you have to market your giveaway aggressively and manage it closely.

After your promotion has run its course, that’s it. It has no use to you anymore.

Here’s my advice:

  • run giveaways sparingly;
  • make sure you can execute them well because promotions can easily flop;
  • give away something that closely aligns with your premium offers.

Which of these four strategies should you focus on?

All of them.

The days of one lead magnet are gone.

Of course, you don’t have to create all of them at once. That takes time.

But aim to have each of these types of incentives in your arsenal.

3. Design your website to convert

You’ve come up with your lead magnet ideas, and you’ve created them.

Now what?

It’s time to ensure your website visitors have every opportunity to grab these free resources.

This is not about designing your site from scratch or spending big bucks on web design.

You simply want to ensure that your web traffic is directed to your incentives.

A few tweaks will do the trick.

Here are my recommendations.

1. Place your brand-specific lead magnet above the fold of your website

Above the fold is the upper half of a website page.

It’s that section that a web visitor sees without having to scroll down.

The premise is simple.

You have a few seconds to grab your visitors’ attention. If your primary goal is to collect leads, the first thing users should see is an opportunity to sign up to your email list.

Here’s an example from Blogging Wizard:

Blogging Wizard Discover Actionable Blogging Tips You Can Use

Here’s another example:

Done For You Funnel Service AutoGrow co

2. Create high-converting landing pages for your lead magnets

Every standalone lead magnet needs a landing page. (This rule doesn’t apply to content upgrades.)

If you decide to run list-building ads, you’ll need this asset. If you want to direct your social media traffic to your lead magnet, it will also come in handy.

Let’s talk about the anatomy of a solid landing page. It needs to have:

  • a primary headline
  • a secondary headline or subheading
  • a descriptive statement
  • benefits in bullet points
  • an image of your lead magnet
  • minimal form fields (two fields maximum)
  • a call to action
  • social proof (if you have it)
  • a snippet about you and an image (optional)

I know. Most landing pages don’t include all these elements.

That’s why they don’t work.

I recommend including everything listed above, but if you have to choose, the first seven will do the job.

3. Every time you run a promotion, feature it above the fold

When you decide to run list-building promos, you need to capitalize on that prime real estate.

As I referenced earlier, giveaways require lots of marketing. The more exposure you can get, the more successful you will be.

Just replace whatever is above your fold at the moment with something related to your promotion.

Like in this example:

Giveaway TechnoBuffalo

4. Include opt-in forms in three to seven different places on your site

Apart from landing pages and feature boxes above the fold, you need to have opt-in forms elsewhere on your site.

Why three to seven?

Well, two is not enough to get the job done.

In marketing, there’s this rule that says prospects need to hear your message seven times before it sticks.

Only then will they take action.

I’ve analyzed several of the top sites in various niches. They all have many opt-in forms in that range.

I don’t know what your results will be. You can test it.

In any event, one thing is for sure: the more opportunities you have for web visitors to opt in to your email list, the faster it will grow.

And that’s what you want.

Here are some ideas where you can place these additional opt-ins:

  • within your blog posts
  • in your sidebar
  • in popups
  • on your About page
  • in your main navigation
  • in your footer

4. Keep creating high-value content on a consistent basis

At this point, you’ll start seeing an improvement.

Why am I so sure?

If you create lead magnets your audience wants and optimize your site for conversions, you’re achieving two things.

First, you have a foundation to scale your list building efforts.

Second, you are capitalizing on the traffic you’re already receiving.

That combination alone will make a difference. But let’s see how you can ramp it up.

Content is crucial at this stage.

There are three types of content I recommend.

1. High-value blog posts with content upgrades

In the second step, we talked about the importance of blog posts with content upgrades.

However, you were working with existing content.

You have to keep publishing valuable posts on a weekly basis. If you can create a content upgrade for each article, definitely do that.

What’s the ideal publishing frequency?

That depends on your niche and your audience.

I’ll tell you one thing.

You don’t need to post daily. Consistency is what matters.

One post a week is enough to see results with your list building.

2. Webinars

You may have noticed webinars are in vogue these days.

And with good reason.

It’s a fresh way to deliver value to your audience.

It’s especially powerful for list building because it’s gated content. People have to sign up to your email list to attend.

Here’s the thing though.

Webinars are a strategy into itself. It takes preparation, the right tools, and robust marketing to make it a success.

But it’s worth it.

Webinars typically run about 60 minutes. It means you’ll need lots of content to work with.

The great news?

This content is typically evergreen and can be repurposed into blog posts or social media posts.

3. Social media content

There’s no better source of free traffic than your social media profiles.

I recommend focusing on one main platform where your audience hangs out.

Post consistently. Build an engaged community. And direct that social traffic to your main site.

Conclusion

There’s no dancing around this fact: email list building is central to the success of an online business.

Make it a priority.

Periods of slow growth are commonplace and shouldn’t be a problem. What matters is what you do to get yourself out of the lull.

When it comes to increasing the number of your subscribers, you aren’t short on options.

Follow the strategies I’ve laid out in this article.

If you implement them, you’ll start seeing an increase in your email list sign-ups almost immediately.

Which list-building strategies have worked the best for you?


Quick Sprout

By

How to Create a Content Upgrade That Will Automate Your List Building #bigcitymarketinggroup

I am a big champion of the power of email marketing.

There’s no better way to build a community and nurture a relationship with your audience.

It’s hands down the most authentic way to prime your prospects, sell them your work, and grow your revenue.

So, when a powerful list-building technique comes along, I get excited.

After all, a thriving email list is the foundation of email marketing.

I’m sure you’ve noticed this, but I’ll point it out anyway.

Content upgrades are what’s hot right now if you want to accelerate the growth of your email list.

Take a guy like Bryan Harris, for instance. He sees a conversion rate of 20-40% on blog posts with content upgrades.

He now averages almost 80 subscribers a day.

Download 11 Killer Lead Magnet Ideas Templates Updated

That’s amazing!

Blog posts typically do not convert as well as landing pages because they’re not designed for that purpose.

The point of a blog post is to educate, entertain, and inspire. There’s too much going on to get someone focused enough to sign up to your email list.

Content upgrades have changed that completely.

You can now transform your blog posts into powerful list-building assets. All you have to do is uplevel your posts with a targeted free resource.

Don’t worry—I’ll show you how.

First, let’s define a content upgrade.

What is a content upgrade?

It’s a type of lead magnet you give your audience in exchange for their email addresses.

The typical lead magnet, like an ebook or an email course, stands alone.

It is not attached to any specific piece of content. It has its own thing going on.

A content upgrade is unique to a piece of content.

It’s usually tied to a blog post. But there are other types of content you can uplevel with a free resource.

Webinars, podcasts, and videos are examples.

The point is to enhance the value of your content with this additional resource.

As you can imagine, there are several ways to achieve that.

You can create a resource that helps readers implement what you just discussed. An action sheet, workbook, or toolkit are excellent examples.

You can give away something that saves them time, like templates or cheat sheets.

The ultimate strategy is to create something that will help them delve deeper into the topic.

This is where you give additional strategies, tutorials, case studies, etc.

Your options are endless.

Let’s look at some examples.

CoSchedule published a post “How to Repurpose Content and Make the Most of Your Marketing.”

The content upgrade?

A content repurposing guide and infographic:

How to Repurpose Content and Make the Most of Your Marketing

If you read this post and were interested in implementing this content repurposing technique, you’d sign up for this upgrade in a heartbeat.

And that’s why content upgrades are so powerful for growing your email list.

They offer something you can’t say no to: value.

I’ll give you more examples later. For now, let’s get into how you can create your content upgrades.

Step #1: Identify your top-performing content

Can’t you just create content upgrades for your new content?

Yes, but it’s not where you should start.

If you haven’t created upgrades, you should first capitalize on the traffic you’re already receiving.

This is the fastest way to see results.

You can identify your top posts with Google Analytics or Buzzsumo.

If you have GA fired up, go to the Reports section and click on “behavior.”

Analytics 11

Go to “site content” and then “all pages.”

You’ll find the website pages with the most traffic.

Analytics 10

You can also find this info directly from your WordPress dashboard if you have GA set up there.

Buzzsumo is even simpler.

Plug in your site URL and press “Go.”

BuzzSumo Find the Most Shared Content and Key Influencers 2

You’ll find the posts with the most social shares.quicksprout com Most Shared Content 2

Record these in a spreadsheet. They’ll serve as your targets for your new content upgrades.

These are for finding your top blog posts, but the same can be done for your podcasts, YouTube videos, webinars, etc.

Step #2: Find the gap in your content

To deliver that extra value, you need to pinpoint the gap in your content.

Otherwise, your upgrade won’t be worth opting in for.

Select one of your top content pieces found in the first step. Go through it from top to bottom, and consider the following questions.

Q. 1: What problem does your content solve?

If you’ve created something of quality, it should solve a problem.

I understand not all content is instructional or how-to, but the question remains.

Think about what knowledge you’re trying to deliver and what purpose it serves for your audience.

Let’s look at this post.

Quick Sprout Blog by Neil Patel

My goal is to give readers the fastest and easiest strategies to grow their email lists.

If I were to create a content upgrade for that post, it would:

  • be easy to implement
  • deliver on the promise of being fast
  • help you gain more subscribers

This may sound futile. But without going through this exercise, your content upgrade can flop.

When I talk about types of upgrades later, you’ll understand why.

For now, figure out what your content is trying to accomplish.

And your job will be half done.

Q. 2: What’s missing?

You know the goal of your content piece.

Is there a strategy you didn’t mention? A tool required to implement your tactics? Something that fulfills the goal but was not covered in-depth or at all?

Find the gap between the objective and what your content does.

Q. 3: How can you expand the value?

Think of what could’ve been included to make your content more valuable.

You want an upgrade that accomplishes the same goal you established earlier, but with an extra kick.

When people consume new information, they’re thinking of the ways they can implement it for a positive result.

Your audience wants to achieve that outcome better, faster, and cheaper and with more precision, less error, and less effort.

That’s the purpose your content upgrade should serve.

What content do you plan to create in the future?

If you want to make upgrades a key piece of your list-building strategy, here’s what I recommend.

Don’t wait till after you’ve created your content to come up with an idea for your free resource.

Instead, strategize the future upgrade.

How?

Leave an open loop.

This technique uses the power of storytelling to get readers excited about your content upgrade.

Here’s what storytelling does to the brain:

How To Improve Your Sales Emphatically Through Storytelling

How do you achieve that?

Briefly mention a tool, a topic, a relevant experience, or an action step in your article.

Don’t expand on it in your post. Just mention it, and leave the gap wide open.

This way you’re giving people a piece of the story—not the whole thing.

The objective is to hook your readers.

Then, create an upgrade that closes this gap. I guarantee you, people will sign up to your list just to get the inside scoop.

With this technique, you’re utilizing curiosity, a major persuasion factor.

Step #3: Select an appropriate type of content upgrade

Now that you know what content you’ll cover, it’s time to establish the form.

How will you deliver your content?

Many people don’t give it much thought. They believe the content is the end-all and be-all.

Not true.

Content and delivery go hand in hand.

Imagine you promise subscribers a quick win, and you deliver your content in a 30-day email course.

There’s nothing quick about a 30-day email course.

But that doesn’t mean this form isn’t appropriate for a different result.

Let’s say you promise advanced in-depth training, and you deliver it in a cheat sheet.

The email course would serve your audience way better in this instance.

It’s why I use it. It works.

Quick Sprout Blog by Neil Patel 1

You could also use a webinar.

How to Use Email Segmentation to Increase Your Conversion Rate

Do you see how the type of upgrade you select can conflict with the actual content?

You want the two to work seamlessly.

Otherwise, your subscribers will feel cheated when they receive your resource.

The result?

They unsubscribe and never return to your blog again.

This is why I placed emphasis on establishing your goals in the beginning. It’s going to help you select the right type of content upgrade.

Here are the options available:

  • email courses
  • email challenges
  • cheat sheets
  • checklists
  • planners
  • ebooks or PDF guides
  • resource kits
  • case studies
  • video series
  • templates
  • printables
  • swipe files
  • transcripts
  • infographics
  • workbooks
  • audio files

These will give you enough food for thought.

Ensure you select the form that aligns with your content and its goals.

Step #4: Design your content upgrade

You’ve got your content figured out. You’ve got your delivery method aligned with the content.

This is where you might have some problems.

Or maybe not.

Designing a lead magnet can be time-consuming and challenging for some people. For others, it’s a breeze.

Here’s the thing.

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming for anyone.

Even if you don’t have one technical or creative bone in your body, you can do this.

And if you don’t want to, you can outsource it for pretty cheap. That’s why sites like Fiverr, 99Designs, and UpWork exist.

For those who want to handle it themselves, here’s how.

First, I’ll tell you my favorite tools:

  • Canva
  • Beacon
  • Google Docs
  • Word or Apple Pages

That’s it.

The best part? These are free to use.

Here’s an overview of how you can do this.

Step #1: Outline the content for your upgrade in a Google Doc or Word document

Whether you’re creating an ebook, ecourse, or cheat sheet, write out the most important points.

This will serve as a skeleton for your content upgrade.

Step #2: Expand on your outline

Flesh out your main points. I like to use dictation to get through this faster. This way, you can just speak about your topic and let the tool do the typing.

Go through it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure there are no errors.

Step #3: Use Canva or Beacon to create a beautiful layout

You can also do this with Google docs.

You can copy and paste images, icons, create tables, and highlight text to create a sophisticated design within a simple document.

Then, download your document as a PDF.

But if you want to step up your design, Canva and Beacon are the best choices.

Step #4: Create an image of your content upgrade

This is so you can place it within your blog posts or on a landing page. One of my favorite tools to do that is Skitch.

I use it to take a snapshot of the individual pages of the content upgrade. Then, I overlay them in Canva to create an image.

Like this:

Sales Pages Success Checklist

Step #5: Create a compelling call to action image to place within your blog posts

Again, you can use Canva to do this.

Here are some examples:

600px x 150px Use this 18 Point Checklist to make your sales page sing 1

Here’s another:

600px x 150px Use this 18 Point Checklist to make your sales page sing

It doesn’t have to be fancy.

You can use a feature box like this:

6 Step Sales funnel we used to make 220 750 from our online course 2

Step #5: Set up the delivery of your content upgrade

At this point, you should have all the assets created for your upgrade.

The task now is to set up delivery.

Step #1: Host the file in WordPress or with your email management software

Some email systems, like ConvertKit, allow you to host files. This makes it super simple to deliver them to subscribers.

The alternative is to use your WordPress account.

Go to your dashboard, find the “Media” tab and “Add New.”

Upload your file.

Upload New Media STORYSUASION WordPress

You’ll receive a downloadable URL (“file URL”).

Anyone with the link can now access your content upgrade.

Step #2: Set up a follow-up email in your email management system

This is what you’ll use to deliver your content upgrade. Place the link you got in Step #1 within your email.

At this point, you can set up a system to segment subscribers.

Let’s say someone opts in for a content upgrade on list-building. You can tag them to be transferred to a separate list designated for people interested in this particular topic.

Most email software allows for segmentation.

When you segment subscribers this way, you are better able to deliver emails aligned with their interests.

It keeps them engaged and your unsubscribe rate low.

Step #6: Promote your content upgrade and watch your list grow

The only thing left to do is to promote your content upgrades. The goal is to get them in front of as many eyes as possible.

Place them prominently within blog posts. Do it several times.

When you share your content on social media, let people know there’s an additional free resource that comes with it.

A good way to promote your upgrades is to repurpose them. It’s not necessary to create a new resource for each piece of content.

If you’re covering the same topics, your upgrades will be relevant to other content you create.

Conclusion

If you really want to take your list-building up a couple of notches, content upgrades are a must.

They enhance the value of your posts and give your audience a reason to hop on to your email list.

In some instances, content upgrades are more powerful than stand-alone lead magnets.

Why do people shy away from them?

It can appear to be time-consuming and complicated.

In some instances, that’s true.

But if you follow the steps in this article, you’ll have everything you need to quickly and painlessly create content upgrades.

Why not transform every piece of content into a list-building asset?

That’s the kind of transformation that impacts your bottom line. Try it out, and watch your email list numbers go through the roof.

Do you have any tricks for creating high-converting content upgrades?


Quick Sprout

By

Everything You Need to Know Before You Start A/B Testing #bigcitymarketinggroup

Do you think your website is performing to its full potential?

It’s frustrating if you’re not getting enough clicks and conversions on your website.

The layout of your page might be the issue.

Think about the goal of your website.

The layout of your website should match the goal for your website, depending on your business model.

For example, the main goal of an ecommerce site is to increase sales.

But the primary goal of a media or news platform may be to get users to click on advertisements.

The setup of your website needs to reflect your goal.

An ecommerce page will most likely get formatted differently than a news site.

What’s the best way to lay out the content on your website?

Use A/B testing to find the optimal configuration.

Here’s an example of how it works:

image1

The graphic above is a good depiction of how you would use and analyze A/B testing, which is also referred to as split testing.

It’s a simple concept.

Half of your visitors will get directed to one version of the website, variation A.

The other half will be sent to another version of your site, variation B.

Then, you can determine which layout helps you achieve your goal better.

In the example above, variation A has a 23% conversion rate, while variation B only has an 11% conversion rate.

Variation A is the clear winner of this split test.

Again, the concept isn’t difficult to understand.

But applying this model to your website can be tricky if you don’t do it the right way.

If it’s your first time doing an A/B test or your last attempt was unsuccessful, don’t worry.

I’ll tell you everything you need to know before you start A/B testing.

Set a clear goal for your testing procedure

Here’s a visual representation of what your procedure should look like:

image4

The first thing you need to do is determine which conversion to improve.

Don’t change every aspect of your website.

That’s an ineffective approach and won’t give you measurable results.

Instead, make an alteration to something specific that’s related to your goal.

If you’re unsure where to start, here are some examples of different components you can change on your website:

  • the headline
  • subheadings
  • your call-to-action buttons
  • links
  • text
  • awards and mentions in the media
  • testimonials and social proof
  • images
  • videos
  • advertisements

These are just some basic suggestions to get you brainstorming.

All these components can affect the behavior and actions of your visitors.

Ultimately, these actions can impact your conversions.

Once you set a goal, you can form a hypothesis to test to determine whether that solution will help you reach those goals.

For example, let’s say your goal is to increase conversions.

Your hypothesis is that increasing the size of your call-to-action button and making it more prominent on your homepage will increase conversion rates.

Then you devise a split test to test that hypothesis.

Here’s an example from Yuppiechef:

image3

Yuppiechef hypothesized that their website users were too distracted by their navigation menu.

They thought that visitors had too many options to click, so they weren’t selecting the CTA button.

What did they do?

Yuppiechef removed the navigation bar for their variation page of the A/B test.

The test layout resulted in a 100% increase in their conversions.

Highrise used A/B testing to test a hypothesis about the header on their homepage:

image2

Altering this heading increased clicks by 30%.

To sum up the process:

  • set a goal
  • come up with a hypothesis (what elements should I change to try to achieve this goal?)
  • run an A/B test
  • analyze the results

If you change too many components of your website, it will be extremely difficult to accurately test your hypothesis.

Select a platform to run your A/B tests

Okay.

You’ve got a goal and a hypothesis.

But how do you implement these tests on your website?

Not everyone who operates a website is a computer engineer or programmer.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be either to run an A/B test.

There are plenty of tools and resources that can help you do that.

Here are some places to start.

Google Analytics has an A/B test feature.

image12

I use Google Analytics to get actionable data from my websites.

If you’re already using other features of Google Analytics and you’re comfortable using this platform, I think it’s a great place for you to start.

You can also try:

  • multivariate tests
  • redirect tests

Both of these are options through Google Analytics.

Multivariate tests let you change multiple elements of your web pages.

Redirect tests are also known as split URL tests.

These are great for testing different landing pages.

Google Analytics gives you organized and detailed reports from your experiments.

You can easily analyze this information to prove or disprove your hypothesis.

It’s also free to use, which is always an added bonus.

The Five Second Test is another platform you can try.

image10

It’s super easy to test the design elements of your homepage, logos, and landing pages with this service.

You’ll discover what your website visitors like and don’t like about your page.

You can run:

  • click tests
  • performance tests
  • navigation flow tests
  • A/B tests

It’s a great resource to test the call to action on your landing pages.

Five Second Test also has some free plans to choose from.

Optimizely also offers A/B testing.

image9

Like with Google Analytics, you can run multivariate tests in addition to A/B tests with Optimizely.

It’s easy for you to edit and change virtually every element of your website’s design.

You do need to sign up for a paid subscription to use their platform.

However, Optimizely offers you a free 30-day trial to check out their software—you don’t need to commit to a subscription right away.

Optimizely generates a line of code for you to insert into your HTML.

It’s easy to follow their instructions, and you’ll see results based on your testing in real time.

If you have a mobile application, Optimizely allows you to run experiments on your app as well.

Unbounce is another popular choice for A/B testing.

image11

Here’s what they offer.

You can build a landing page with high conversion rates.

Integrate your analytics, marketing automation, CRM tools, or email campaigns with their software.

Their A/B testing lets you optimize conversions, converting traffic into leads and sales.

I like their drag-and-drop format to customize your website.

This feature makes it easy to make changes to your A/B tests.

It’s another paid subscription software.

Their packages start at $ 79 per month.

If you’re on the fence about which software to use for your A/B experiments, I would definitely recommend trying one of the options we just discussed:

  • Google Analytics
  • Five Second Test
  • Optimizely
  • Unbounce

These are all easy to use, regardless of your goals.

Understand the statistics behind your data

All right, as I said before, your A/B test will help you test your hypothesis.

Once you have the results, you’ll need to make sense of them.

This is a basic statistical experiment.

If you slept through your high school or college statistics course, I’ll give you a quick refresher so you can effectively interpret and analyze the results.

Here are some basic terms to get familiar with:

  • mean
  • variance
  • sampling

The mean is an average value of something.

Variance measures the average variability of your results.

The higher the variability, the less accurate your mean (or average) will be for the experiment.

You can use an A/A test to detect any natural variance on your website.

Here’s an example of A/A testing to determine the variance.

image7

The two homepages above are identical.

However, the one on the right had 15% more conversions.

You can do the same on your website by splitting the traffic between two identical pages.

It’s important to know this information before you start the A/B test.

Here’s why.

Let’s say the A/B test yields a 15% higher conversion rate for the page you’re testing.

Well, if your natural variance is already 15%, the A/B is inconclusive.

If you don’t know your variance from the A/A test, it could potentially give you a false positive result when you run the A/B test.

Your sample size is also important.

There’s no fixed number of visitors you need to get or set number of days you need to run your test for.

Continue your A/B test for as long as you have to.

Here’s an example of some results you may see after a couple of days:

image5

At first glance, it appears that your variation was unsuccessful.

But your sample size isn’t large enough yet.

Here are the results of that same test two weeks later:

image6

Sure, you want to stay on top of your data so you can measure the outcome.

But don’t do this too soon.

If you ended your test after the first couple of days, you would have missed out on all this additional information.

After running the test for two weeks, you can see there was a 25.18% improvement in the variation of your control page.

It’s statistics 101.

Yes, I know you’re excited to see the results so you can come up with a finalized page.

Rushing won’t help.

Take your time so you can get accurate results.

Conclusion

If you want to start A/B-testing your website, that’s great.

It’s an effective method to figure out what changes you need to make to your website to achieve your goal.

Want to improve conversions?

Maybe changing the color scheme, button size, or button placement can impact the results.

A/B testing is the best way to figure this out.

But make sure you keep everything we discussed in mind before you dive into this.

First, you need to set a goal.

The goal should be actionable, measureable, and realistic.

Next, set a hypothesis for your goal.

For example, if you’re an ecommerce company, you’ll want to increase your checkout rates.

image8

Look at the graphic above.

What elements of your website can you change to minimize cart abandonment?

If your checkout process is too long or complicated, try a variation page with a simpler checkout procedure.

Test the hypothesis.

Earlier we looked at an example where a website eliminated a navigation bar for its A/B test.

This minimized clutter and brought the attention of their visitors to the CTA button.

Analyze the results.

Was your hypothesis correct?

In order to effectively and accurately measure your data, you need to understand the basic statistical concepts we talked about:

  • mean
  • variation
  • sample

You should consider running an A/A test before you start your A/B testing procedure.

The A/A test will help you determine your natural variance to avoid getting a false positive from your experiment.

There are lots of great tools you can use to run A/B tests.

With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to find the best one.

I recommend starting with one of the choices I mentioned:

  • Google Analytics
  • Five Second Test
  • Optimizely
  • Unbounce

These platforms are a great starting point.

Their analytics tools will make it much easier for you to interpret the results of your test.

Do not rush. Give it some time before you jump to conclusions.

Make sure you get a large enough sample size before you draw conclusions about your hypothesis.

What aspect of your homepage will you change to test a hypothesis and increase your conversions?


Quick Sprout

By

4 Easy-to-Implement Tactics to Increase Your Newsletter Subscribers (FAST) #bigcitymarketinggroup

Can I go out on a limb here?

I’m going to guess you’re already sold on building an email list.

After all, you’ve heard the advice many times over:

“Build an email list. It’s where the money is.”

If you’re remotely interested in growing a business with staying power, it’s the wise thing to do.

It’s reported that for every dollar spent on email marketing, there’s an average $ 44 return on investment.

Here’s the thing though.

List building can be quite puzzling for both Internet marketing newbies and veterans.

Marketers agree. A whopping 63% say generating leads is their top challenge.

SOI blog top challenges4 1 png 1 000 500 pixels

The source of this confusion?

The massive amount of conflicting information out there.

There are about 198 MILLION posts on how to build an email list:

how to build an email list Google Search

That’s insane!

I’ll tell you one thing.

You don’t need to spend weeks creating a 45-page e-book as your opt-in offer. And you don’t need to read another “197 Ways to Grow Your Email List” post.

You can simply tweak your website to instantly boost your subscriber count.

Best of all, many of these tweaks will take less than an hour to implement.

That translates to more leads with less work.

Exciting, right?

In this article, I’ll give you four ridiculously easy to implement tactics. None of them require you to start from scratch.

Instead, you can make a few adjustments to your website for a more efficient list-building system.

Ready? Let’s start.

1. Funnel existing traffic to high-performing landing pages

Like I promised, we won’t be reinventing the wheel here.

Brian Dean calls this the Landing Page Funnel (LPF) Technique. It requires two things you should already have:

  1. traffic
  2. a landing page designed to convert leads.

Don’t worry, you don’t need tens of thousands of visitors a day or a landing page that converts at 50%.

Here’s how this works.

First, identify the landing pages that convert the best on your website.

Then, direct traffic you already receive to these pages.

Easy stuff, right?

Most people want more traffic. Some even take the necessary steps to get these much-coveted website visitors.

But they miss out on the golden opportunity to convert that attention into leads.

Once you have the two elements, it’s not difficult to do.

All you have to do is link extensively to these high-converting landing pages.

Place a link at the top of your website’s pyramid (in the main navigation menu):

Internet Marketing Strategy Social Triggers 1

You can also put a link in the comment section of posts as I do on Neilpatel.com:

How to Skyrocket Your Traffic by Bringing Your Old Content Back From the Dead

Or place links to landing pages for your top resources in your sidebar:

Starting and growing a blog Social Triggers

My point here is this: you may not need more traffic or opt-in offers to increase the number of your subscribers.

Track where your current web visitors spend the most time and ensure they have easy access to a high-converting landing page.

It’s as simple as adding a few links.

But what if none of your current landing pages convert well?

Improve them.

A basic email grab form is not enough.

You need to have all the persuasive elements on your landing page.

Here is how to improve your landing pages:

  • reduce the number of form fields. One form field is excellent, two is enough, and three is too many.
  • add social proof elements. Got an endorsement from a big name? Show it off. Have 15 000 subscribers? Let people know. Got one raving testimonial from a reader? Feature it.
  • have a strong value proposition. I’ll demonstrate with an example from SmartBlogger.

10 Creative Places for Opt In Forms That ll Supercharge Your Signups

They’ve had this same lead magnet for ages.

And I bet it converts like crazy.

It’s a valuable resource for writing headlines.

They don’t ask people to

download these headline formulas.

Instead, they lead with a compelling value proposition:

write viral blog posts quicker.

Makes sense?

2. Create content upgrades

I am a big fan of content upgrades.

You can uplevel your content by adding bonuses unique to each piece of content.

Let’s say you write an ultimate guide on promoting a blog post. You can create a quick cheat sheet for blog post promotion.

Like this:

17 Insanely Actionable List Building Strategies That Work Fast

You just have to extract the key points from your already-written blog post and create your bonus content.

I recommend keeping it short, snappy, and easily consumable.

Lead magnets, including content upgrades, should be something that subscribers can consume and implement quickly.

This way, there’s a sense of instant gratification, and your perceived value goes up.

It’s exactly what you want.

I’ll admit. This is the most time-consuming tactic on this list.

After all, you have to create a unique bonus for each post.

There are some clever ways around that, and I’ll share them with you.

1. Create multi-purpose content upgrades.

In other words, create a bonus that can be used for several blog posts.

This is easy to do if you’re blogging about the same topics.

2. Use the content you already have.

Let’s say you write a blog post entitled “27 Ways to Generate More Leads Using LinkedIn.”

You can feature 21 of these strategies in your blog post and provide the rest as a bonus.

Like this:

How To Get More Twitter Followers Fast Authority Hacker

3. Have a formula for creating your upgrades.

You don’t need to have every type of bonus under the sun to see results from this tactic.

Have a podcast? Stick with giving out transcripts.

Create only long-form and comprehensive content? Stick with PDF versions of your posts.

Decide what type of content upgrade you want to give to your readers, and go all in on it.

The process will become formulaic and efficient when you do it this way.

Whether you use these time-saving strategies or not, content upgrades are still worth the time you put into them.

Depending on what the actual upgrade is, it may take you an hour maximum.

Don’t neglect to prominently feature your content upgrades. Don’t bury them in the middle or at the bottom of your posts.

Instead, make readers aware of this bonus from the beginning.

What are some examples of content upgrades?

  • PDF version of a post
  • cheat sheet
  • checklist
  • additional strategies
  • list of resources or tools
  • printables and templates
  • transcript
  • video or audio recording
  • a challenge

The list goes on, but these give you enough food for thought.

If you’re serious about increasing your email list, here’s my challenge to you.

Step #1: Go through your website analytics, and pinpoint five blog posts with the most traffic.

Step #2: Create one content upgrade for each blog post. Spend less than an hour on each one.

Put these steps into action, and you’ll see a difference.

3. Create a vault of subscriber-exclusive content

It’s true.

Traditional opt-in offers don’t work anymore.

I’m talking about bulky reports and e-books.

Even if people sign up for these resources, they typically put off reading them.

The result? They never consume the information, yet alone implement it.

Think about the last time you downloaded an e-book. You tell yourself you’ll read it later and never get around to it.

I bet it happens all the time. I know it does for me.

Is there an easy solution?

Put all your free resources in one place so subscribers can have easy access to them.

Here’s an example from Blogging Wizard:

Blogging Wizard Discover Actionable Blogging Tips You Can Use

When you click the “exclusive content” link, it takes you to a high-converting landing page with 15+ resources.

15 Guides To Accelerate Your Blog s Growth By 425 Blogging Wizard 1

These resources are found on a password-protected page.

When you sign up, you get the password, and that’s it.

You’ve got a lifetime access to a vault of valuable resources.

Note:

Blogging Wizard married this strategy with the content upgrade.

Within blog posts, they feature their collection of subscriber-exclusive resources as a content upgrade.

How To Get More Twitter Followers 24 Effective Tips To Grow Your Following Fast

Now, that’s smart.

Here’s another example from Melyssa Griffin:

Melyssa Griffin Entrepreneur Blog Tips

Again, you don’t have to start from scratch.

I’ll give you the step-by-step play.

Step #1

Gather all the free resources you’ve created in the past. It could be ultimate guides, checklists, webinars, cheat sheets, etc.

Here’s a list of what Blogging Wizard has in its vault so you can get an idea:

15 Guides To Accelerate Your Blog s Growth By 425 Blogging Wizard

Step #2

Create a specific website page to host these resources. I recommend using the Essential Grid WordPress Plugin to display your content in a customizable grid.

Step #3

In WordPress, set the visibility of your page as “password protected,” choose your password, and publish your page.

Add New Page ContentHaven WordPress

Step #4

Create a landing page for your exclusive content, and funnel traffic to that page.

You’ll instantly have an opt-in offer that will keep converting leads.

You won’t have to create a new offer every few months when the one you have feeds you.

Be sure you keep adding fresh content to your vault, and you’ll be good to go.

4. Optimize these two most valuable website pages

There’s a good chance you’re not making the best use of crucial website real estate.

I’m talking about the two pages most people do nothing with.

The Home page and the About page.

Do a quick audit of your website.

If you don’t have more than one (minimum two) opt-in forms on both of these pages, you have a problem.

Fortunately, it’s an easy fix.

Let’s start with the Home page

Have you ever seen websites with home pages taken up almost entirely by opt-in forms?

Or at least, the first thing you see is a call to action to sign up for something.

Here’s what I mean:

Storyline Blog

Here’s another example from Neilpatel.com:

Neil Patel Helping You Succeed Through Online Marketing

Derek Halpern has about six calls to action on his homepage, inviting visitors to subscribe.

Five of them are presented in the first half of the page:

Internet Marketing Strategy Social Triggers

Too much?

Maybe, but it works.

Just ask his 300K subscribers.

Internet Marketing Strategy Social Triggers 2

The point is, you need to make optimal use of your homepage.

It’s often the most visited website page. You just have to do a few tweaks to add those opt-in forms.

Here are two quick fixes you can do right now:

Step #1

Add a HelloBar to your homepage to divert traffic to a landing page of your choice.

This is an opt-in tool that converts like crazy.

It’s as effective as a pop-up but less obtrusive and annoying.

About The Nectar Collective 1

Step #2

Add a link to an opt-in form or page in your main navigation menu.

Simple, right?

Let’s talk about your About page

There are few website pages as important as this one.

When new readers come to your blog, they’re guaranteed to visit this page.

They don’t know, like, or trust you yet.

That’s what your About page should be geared towards.

More importantly, it should convert these web visitors into subscribers.

How do you do that?

  1. Make your About page persuasive
  2. Add a few opt-in forms

I’ll tell you the key to making your About page subscriber-worthy.

Don’t make it about you.

Conflicting, I know.

Here’s a unique way to look at it.

Your About page should tell a story. Your audience should be the hero of that story. And you should position yourself as a trusted adviser to the hero.

Makes sense?

After you’ve amped up the quality of your About page, sprinkle in a few opt-in forms.

About Social Triggers

Beautiful designs like the one above work, but you can keep it simple with an inline opt-in form.

About The Nectar Collective

Conclusion

Profitable businesses are built on the relationships they nurture with their audiences.

Right now, the best (and only) way to do that effectively is through email marketing.

At the center of that is getting people to trust you enough to give you their email addresses.

And you know what?

It’s way less complicated than people make it out to be.

You really don’t need to spend hours creating bulky opt-in offers.

Double down on a few strategies that have been proven to work. In this article, I gave you four you can start using immediately.

They’re super actionable and easy to implement.

Put them to work, and I guarantee your subscriber count will increase.

What are your best strategies for gaining new subscribers fast?


Quick Sprout

By

How to Increase the Revenue Value of Your Homepage by 851% #bigcitymarketinggroup

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

I think this is a fitting quote to demonstrate the importance of a great homepage.

Once a visitor lands on your homepage, you need to impress them in a hurry.

Failure to do this typically results in a lost conversion with the vast majority of visitors never returning.

How can you ensure you make a good first impression?

And, more importantly, how do you boost conversions and increase the revenue value of your homepage?

There are countless strategies that work to some extent.

But I’d like to cover a handful I feel are the most practical and impactful.

I’ve researched each of these strategies and have implemented them on my own as well as my clients’ sites.

I’ve even seen some clients increase the revenue value of their homepages by as much as 851%.

This is not an exaggeration or some gimmicky hype to get you to click on my articles. This is stuff that works.

Let’s get down to business.

Make the load time lightning fast

Your first objective is to ensure a fast load time.

This is perhaps the most important factor of all because the rest of the strategies I’m going to discuss don’t really matter if the bulk of your visitors abandon your homepage prematurely.

Here’s a graph that illustrates how page abandonment increases as the load time of your homepage increases:

image08

I suggest using the Pingdom Website Speed Test to accurately assess the load time of your homepage.

If it takes any longer than 5 seconds, you need to speed it up. Learn how to do it from this article I wrote.

Provide a clear value proposition

Once a visitor lands on your homepage, they should be able to tell right away what you’re offering and why it’s worth their time to check out your site in further detail.

This requires you to take one simple but incredibly important step: create a clear value proposition.

ConversionXL defines a value proposition as a clear statement that:

  • explains how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their situation (relevancy),
  • delivers specific benefits (quantified value),
  • tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition (unique differentiation).

Here’s the value proposition I include on neilpatel.com:

image00

It’s clear, specific, and to the point.

Below are some other good examples.

Dollar Shave Club pulls it off well:

image15

So does Unbounce:

image06

You get the idea.

For a more thorough explanation and tips on how to create a killer value proposition, check out this guide from ConversionXL.

Include a picture of a person

A few years back, there was a study that examined the impact of including a picture of a person on homepage performance.

The study involved A/B testing of two very different landing pages created for Highrise, a CRM software company.

The original design was pretty basic but fairly busy, meaning there was a lot of information.

However, the new design was very simple and included a large picture of a woman smiling.

The results were undeniable. Using the second design, with the woman smiling, resulted in 102.5% more sign-ups.

Here’s a comparison of the two designs:

image13

What does this tell us?

It’s clear that including images of people (more specifically, people smiling) on your homepage can have a dramatic impact on conversions.

I actually follow this formula on my homepage for neilpatel.com, and it’s worked out wonderfully:

image16

Other successful bloggers do the same.

Do you recognize this guy?

image11

Here’s another one:

image03

And here’s Marie Forleo:

image07

This is Matt Barby:

image04

Here’s Lewis Howes:

image10

These people aren’t celebrities. They aren’t models.

They’re just bloggers. Successful ones.

They’ve figured out that a face on the screen vastly improves the profitability of the homepage.

Make your contact information easy to find

At first thought, placing your contact information in a conspicuous place on your homepage might not seem like a big deal.

It might seem like a mere footnote.

But it’s actually more important than you might think.

In fact, a study from KoMarketing found that

once on a company’s homepage, 64% of visitors want to see the company’s contact information.

image09

And it’s not just your basic info like an email address.

Most people want thorough contact information like your phone, email, and address.

According to KoMarketing,

a lack of contact information will also deter buyers from moving forward with a Request for Proposal (RFP) and with filling out a form to request a demo or RFP.

I think this is important so visitors can tell for sure you’re a legitimate organization with a physical address and not some sleazy snake oil salesman who’s just looking to take their money and run.

The same goes for the About Us section

The same study from KoMarketing states that

once on a company’s homepage, 52% of visitors want to see ‘about us’ information.

This is one of quickest ways to establish trust and credibility with potential customers.

They want to make sure you’re legit.

Typically, the best location for your contact info and About Us section is the navigational menu at the top.

It’s above the fold and can be found in an instant.

However, if you have a fairly brief homepage, you could also place these sections at the bottom, like I do on neilpatel.com:

image14

Don’t offer too many choices

There’s one mistake in particular I see countless companies make.

And that’s offering too many choices on their homepages.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

image05

I would venture to say that vast majority of visitors who land on this page feel overwhelmed or even paralyzed with all the information.

It’s just too busy.

Here’s the deal.

People tend to enjoy having different options and choices. But only to an extent.

Too many choices have a paralyzing effect, and many people will end up doing nothing.

Here’s a screenshot from The Harvard Business Review in which they touch on a 2000 study involving choice:

image18

The point here is that you should keep your homepage fairly simple:

image12

That’s exactly what I tried to do with the Quick Sprout homepage, and it’s worked out very well.

If you have a lot of different products, build some type of filter so that visitors can figure out what they need without being overwhelmed in the process.

Don’t force a sign-up—allow a guest sign-up

You know what I hate?

When I land on a website and want to test out a trial version or make a quick purchase but get hit with a long registration process.

I find it really inconvenient and flat out annoying at times.

And guess what?

So do most other people.

There’s an article written about this issue by User Interface Engineering (UIE) called The $ 300 Million Button.

I suggest you check it out if you are not sure what I am talking about.

Long story short, most first-time shoppers find it irritating when they have to register before they can buy something. In fact, many resent it.

I love a particular quote from one shopper who said,

I’m not here to enter into a relationship. I just want to buy something.

I think this sums it up perfectly.

Don’t make your customers jump through a bunch of hoops. Instead, allow them to complete their desired actions as guests rather than registered users.

That, right there, can have a dramatic impact on your revenue.

The article from UIE provides a concrete example of just how big of an impact it can have.

Here’s a screenshot:

image02

Address visitor concerns

Let’s be honest.

It doesn’t take much for a would-be customer to turn around and hightail it out of your site.

And most people will have multiple concerns they’ll want addressed before they ultimately decide to make a purchase.

Here are some common concerns they may have:

  • Your company doesn’t fully understand my problem
  • What if your product doesn’t fix MY problem?
  • Why should I trust your company?
  • Why should I choose your product when there are so many other (and potentially more affordable) options out there?

Your goal is to quell any concerns or objections they may have.

But how do you do this?

It usually starts with acknowledging the problem your demographic is facing. Here’s a good example from Basecamp:

image17

This lets visitors know that Basecamp understands how disorganization and confusion can create stress and hinder the progress of a project.

The suggestion is to let Basecamp help them get things back on track.

Including a few testimonials tends to be effective for proving that a product can fix a potential buyer’s problem. If it’s worked for countless other people, it will work for them too.

As for trust builders, here are some ideas:

  • Include logos of companies you’ve worked with or have been endorsed by
  • Include “trust seals” from third-parties such as the Better Business Bureau
  • Mention awards or certifications your company has received

Finally, with proving value, explain why your price is what it is and what customers will get from you that they won’t get from competitors.

Create scarcity or urgency

If a visitor doesn’t convert right away, there’s a good chance you’ll lose them forever.

You want to strike while the iron is hot and while you’ve got them on your website.

One of the best ways to do this is to create scarcity or urgency.

I do this on neilpatel.com by having a feature that says “Training Starts in: X amount of time”

image01

It begins counting down immediately after visitors land on my homepage.

I’ve found this to be effective for getting visitors to take action and for increasing conversions.

Now, there are a lot of different ways to create scarcity or urgency, and I don’t have time to fully discuss them here.

But what I suggest is checking out this post from Marketing Land that explains some techniques for using urgency psychology to improve conversions.

Note: There’s legit scarcity and there’s fake scarcity.

Using fake scarcity is a sleazy, underhanded tactic that most people will sniff out.

Always be honest.

Conclusion

There are many factors that ultimately determine the revenue value of your homepage.

It can be maddening trying to figure out what makes your visitors tick and wrapping your head around the psychology of user experience.

But I know for a fact that using these strategies will have a positive impact on the process.

You can use them to build instant trust, encourage further browsing, increase conversions, and ultimately boost your revenue.

What do you think is the single most important aspect of your homepage? What makes it profitable?


Quick Sprout

By

These Six Content Marketing Tactics Will Give You 142% More Traffic in Six Months #bigcitymarketinggroup

You don’t need me to tell you how potent content marketing is.

I could spout off a laundry list of stats, e.g., “conversion rates are nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters” or “content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.”

You get it.

But the term “content marketing” is a wide umbrella, encompassing a nearly infinite number of strategies and variations.

What you really need to know is which content marketing tactics will get you legitimate results—which ones will boost your traffic and generate sustained leads.

In other words, which strategies are truly worth your time?

In this post, I’d like to discuss six key tactics I feel are most pertinent for content marketers in 2017.

More specifically, these tactics will give you 142% more traffic in six months.

Here we go.

1. Create multiple landing pages

I’m sure you have a landing page on your website.

But there’s absolutely no reason to stop at just one.

In today’s digital marketing world, customer segmentation is vital, and the one-size-fits-all approach just won’t cut it.

Take a look at this data from HubSpot, demonstrating the correlation between the quantity of landing pages and leads generated.

image05

According to HubSpot, “While most companies don’t see an increase in leads when increasing their total number of landing pages from 1-5 to 6-10, companies do see a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15.”

Here’s the impact that multiple landing pages can have for both B2Bs and B2Cs:

image07

The point I’m trying to make here is that the more landing pages you create, the more opportunities you have to rank for different keywords, generate more organic traffic, and ultimately increase conversions.

After all, leads are more likely to convert when they arrive on a landing page that’s fully customized to address their specific needs and concerns.

Now, I’m not saying you necessarily need to create 10 or more landing pages. That may be an overkill in some cases.

But what I am saying is that it’s smart to segment your audience and create an individual landing page for each specific customer type.

Here’s an example:

image03

This approach is almost guaranteed to help you reel in more quality traffic.

2. Make infographics an integral part of your content formula

I feel a little bit like Captain Obvious by pointing out the impact of infographics.

But the bottom line is that this medium is your ticket to massive traffic.

Why?

It’s simple. Infographics get shared like crazy.

In fact, “Infographics are Liked and shared on social media 3x more than other content.”

image04

Here are a few more stats that prove the traffic-generating potential of infographics:

image08

They’re visual. They’re easy to follow. And they make it incredibly simple to digest complex information that would be difficult to consume in a traditional, text-based format.

Not to mention they’re fun.

There’s something inherently playful about infographics that makes people “eat ’em up.”

Just check out the number of shares this infographic from Copyblogger has gotten since the day it was published back in 2012:

image06

Pretty impressive.

I realize there are definitely newer, sexier content marketing tactics out there.

I also realize that interest in infographics has waned slightly over the past few years.

But they’re still one of the top forms of content in terms of traffic-generating potential.

That’s why I recommend making infographics a top priority this year.

Check out this post from neilpatel.com and this post from Quick Sprout to learn the essentials.

3. Create “cornerstone” blog posts

If you’ve been following any of my blogs for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed I like going big.

By this I mean that I:

  • create long-form posts (typically over 1,500 words)
  • include a lot of visuals
  • include statistics
  • cover a lot of facts and details that others may not always touch on

In other words, I strive to provide my audience with as much value as possible.

Keep in mind I don’t always drive the ball out of the park with each blog post, but there’s a consistent level of depth I strive to achieve.

And this has been a big part of my success over the years.

This is why I can’t stress enough the importance of creating “cornerstone” blog posts, and not merely your average, run of the mill posts so common on the Internet.

In a post on Kissmetrics, I highlight just a few of the benefits of creating comprehensive, long-form content:

  • higher rankings in search engines

image00

  • increased time on site
  • success in social media
  • a position of authority

One technique I’ve found useful for creating cornerstone content is to treat each blog post like a be-all and end-all guide.

Attack it with the intent of creating a definitive post that will answer nearly any question your audience may have.

Cover the entire spectrum.

I really recommend checking out this post I wrote on neilpatel.com to learn more about this process.

It also includes some concrete examples you can use to guide your efforts.

Now, of course, you probably won’t have the time to create five-plus posts like this each week (or even three).

That’s why I suggest at least considering scaling back your content and focusing on creating fewer but higher quality in-depth posts rather than churning out dozens mediocre ones.

4. Get cozy with video

Here are some quick stats from HubSpot regarding the state of live video.

  • “Cisco projects that global Internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all Internet traffic by 2019.”
  • “4x as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than read about it.”
  • “43% of consumers wanted to see more video content in 2016.”

image02

No matter which way you slice it, a steady diet of video content is going to crank up your traffic.

This brings me to my next point.

5. Behold live video

I’d like to take it one step further and discuss a key video trend that’s catching on currently.

And that’s live video.

Platforms such as Facebook, Periscope, and YouTube offer live streaming, allowing your audience to watch your video content in real time.

In my opinion, live video is one of the top ways to increase engagement levels and bring a massive influx of traffic.

Here are some numbers to back this up:

  • “A significant number (50%) of marketers plan on using live video services, and 50% want to learn more about live video.”
  • “People spend 3x longer watching video which is live compared to video which is no longer live.”
  • “Facebook generates eight billion video views on average per day.”

I love this medium because it allows me to create an authentic, one-on-one-connection that’s nearly impossible to create otherwise.

It’s also cool because most live video services allow you to answer your viewers’ questions, giving you the opportunity to interact with them in a very personal way.

If you haven’t experimented with live video yet, I recommend giving it a shot.

It can push your traffic numbers off the chart.

Check out this post to learn how to use live video to build your personal brand.

6. Harness the power of content curation

At first thought, content curation might make you feel that you’re being lazy or maybe even unethical, as if you’re a poser who’s taking credit for the hard work of others.

But it’s not like that at all.

In fact, “only 5% of marketers worldwide never share other organization’s content, while nearly 1/3 share blogs, industry publications, or other resources on a daily basis.”

image09

Content curation is an integral part of social media marketing, and almost every legitimate brand participates in it to some extent.

When you do it correctly, this practice can do the following:

  • boost your brand equity
  • establish you as a thought leader
  • bring in a steady stream of high quality traffic

More specifically, “41% of marketers that curate content indicate it has increased the number and/or quality of their sales-ready leads.”

The key is to curate content the right way.

By this I mean upholding rigorous quality standards and always ensuring that the content you select is relevant to your audience.

One person in particular who I feel crushes it at content curation is Brian Dean of Backlinko.

Just check out his definitive guide on link building.

Embedded within the guide are plenty of links to external resources that greatly enhance the content and provide additional insights.

Here’s what I mean:

image01

Of course, this is just one example. There are plenty of other ways to go about it.

Just use your imagination.

Conclusion

In my opinion, all six of these content marketing tactics are incredibly useful for revving up your traffic.

They target your audience in different ways, and when used collectively, they can produce a traffic surge.

I’ve experimented with each one and have seen positive results. Collectively, they helped me increase my traffic by 142% in six months.

Be sure to work these into your 2017 content marketing plan.

Which specific content marketing tactic have you had the most success with?


Quick Sprout

By

Without Emotional Advertising, Your Landing Page Won’t Work. Here’s How to Get It Right. #bigcitymarketinggroup

Emotions guide nearly every facet of our lives.

And it’s no different when it comes to what we choose to buy.

Our purchasing decisions are largely guided by emotions rather than cold logic or stark objectivity.

Some experts even suggest that “90 percent of all purchasing decisions are made subconsciously.”

In other words, they’re based on emotions.

I think that one of the biggest mistakes marketers make with their landing pages is failing to make an emotional connection.

Sure, they present some facts, sprinkle in a bit of data, yada yada yada, but they just don’t connect on an emotional level.

Maybe this is why “only about 22 percent of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.”

It’s a serious problem.

From my experience, emotional advertising is by far the most critical component of a landing page.

It’s essential for getting the conversion rate you’re looking for.

I would now like to take a closer look at the science behind emotional advertising and explain how you can use certain principles to fully optimize your landing page.

Let’s dive in.

What science says

When I’m making marketing decisions, I like to use concrete data as my main guide.

One particular study that I found interesting was conducted by Martin Lindstrom who “was selected by Time Magazine as one of the ‘2009 Time 100’ for his work in the area of neuromarketing.”

In it, Martin uses the fMRT process, which is short for functional magnetic resonance imaging to “get a glimpse into the head of consumers.”

Here’s what he found:

  • “Our brains usually run on autopilot, despite making us believe we know what we are doing.”
  • “90 percent of all purchasing decisions are not made consciously.”
  • “Most purchasing decisions take as little as 2.5 seconds.”
  • “Brodmann Area 10 in the human brain’s frontal cortex is activated if someone ‘thinks a product is really cool’. This area is linked to self-awareness and emotions.”
  • “Brands and products that evoke our emotions, like Apple, Coca-Cola or Nivea, always win.”

According to Peter Noel Murray Ph.D.,

fMRI neuro-imagery shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features and facts).

The bottom line here is that we’re far from being rational creatures with our purchasing decisions.

We’re quite the opposite, actually.

At the end of the day, we’re largely compelled to buy one product over another simply because it appeals more to our emotions.

But what drives these emotions?

Emotions are ultimately interconnected with our needs.

While each person’s specific needs can vary, all humans have virtually the same basic needs, and we are continually pursuing them.

This brings me to an old school psychological concept (from 1943) that I feel still carries just as much weight today as it did back then.

It’s Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which looks like this:

image02

This model shows our hierarchy of needs and breaks them down in terms of importance and priority.

Our most pressing need at the moment motivates our behavior.

Whether it’s as basic as buying bottled water when we’re thirsty or buying the latest model iPhone to gain the respect and admiration of our peers, we’re always looking to have our needs fulfilled.

Your job as a marketer

When you get right down to it, your job is quite simple and breaks down into three basic steps:

  1. Understand the needs of your audience
  2. Understand what their psychological drive is compelling them to seek
  3. Influence their behavior to appeal to their needs

Of course, there’s a lot involved with this. It’s a huge topic to tackle.

But here are the essentials of emotional advertising on your landing page.

Following these basic principles should point you in the right direction and can increase your overall conversion rate considerably.

Start with visuals

I think we can all agree that humans respond well to visuals.

In fact, I’ve written multiple articles on the power of images.

But there’s one particular type of image you’ll want to focus on with your landing page: pictures of people.

Why?

This is one of the most effective ways to evoke an emotion in a visitor.

In fact, there’s a term in psychology known as mirroring, where “one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern or attitude of another.”

It’s a scientific fact, ya’ll.

The trick here is to use images of people exhibiting the emotion you want your audience to feel.

Take this landing page from Lyft, for example:

image00

Their goal was to show how easy and enjoyable it is to make money as a Lyft driver.

And here’s another little trick.

Using images as a guide to your CTA can have a powerful impact.

According to Talia Wolf of Unbounce,

60 percent of our brain is geared towards visual context, so the first thing we see is visual. It’s important to use the images on your page in order to guide user attention.

In other words, you should use your images as directional cues whenever possible.

For instance, you might have a person looking at your CTA.

Use the right color scheme

Next, there’s the issue of color.

Color is huge, and you don’t want to haphazardly construct a landing page without taking this factor into careful consideration.

How do you choose a color scheme?

Well, it starts with understanding colors as emotional triggers.

Here’s an illustration of a color wheel to show you what I mean:

image01

The key is to match your color scheme with the emotion(s) you’re trying to draw out of your visitors.

I’ll give you an example.

Here is a screenshot of a landing page on NeilPatel.com:

image05

Notice that I chose orange as my color scheme. This wasn’t by chance.

My goal was to connect with optimistic business owners hungry to grow their companies. I love connecting with eager, growth-driven people. Orange is the perfect color for that!

I also wanted to convey feelings of friendliness and approachability.

Now, I’m not saying that you have to follow the color wheel to a T, but you should definitely use it as a rough guide when determining which colors to use on your landing page.

That, right there, can have a tremendous impact.

Set their minds at ease

Let’s be honest.

Many of the leads visiting your landing page will be skeptical.

There are a lot of charlatans and snake oil salesmen out there who over-promise and under-deliver.

You need to make it a point to calm your visitors’ anxieties and alleviate any fears they may have.

Below is an example of a landing page that does this well.

It’s from H.Bloom, a luxury flower delivery service:

image06

Notice how they clearly explain the three-step process of “design, schedule and enjoy.”

The page very simply highlights what people can expect if they choose to do business with H.Bloom.

Customers know that they won’t get sucked into some over-complicated service that’s only going to cause them stress.

There are several other areas you may want to address to set your leads’ minds at ease, which can include:

  • testimonials from satisfied customers
  • mentioning the number of customers you’ve served (e.g., over 100,000 customers have used our software)
  • Trust icons like the ones at the bottom of this Shopify landing page (being featured by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and so on immediately adds legitimacy)

image08

Use language that reminds visitors of their pain

If you really want to grab someone’s attention, remind them of their primary pain point.

For instance, an acne removal product might remind visitors of the distress that severe pimples are causing them.

A company selling a knee brace might remind visitors of how difficult it is living with chronic knee pain.

You don’t want to go overboard, but a subtle reminder can serve as a strong motivator to buy your product/service.

I think LifeLock really nails it with this landing page:

image07

In this case, they rouse your fear of being a victim of identity theft.

The point here is to present a specific pain point and show how your product/service will alleviate it.

Use emotionally-driven words

The last thing I’d like to discuss is the actual words you use in your copy.

Copywriting relies upon more than simply writing well.

For it to be effective and turn leads into customers, it must:

  • have a clearly defined purpose
  • target your core audience
  • be simple
  • be persuasive
  • lend credibility to your brand
  • motivate visitors to buy

I don’t have the time here to tackle copywriting in its entirety.

But I do have a simple tip that can help you effectively evoke the right emotions from your leads.

And that’s to use emotional words.

Here’s an example of words associated with pleasant feelings:

image03

Check out this link for a more comprehensive list of emotional words. It also includes words associated with unpleasant

This list should help you decide on a few key words to include into your copy.

For a more exhaustive look at copywriting, I recommend reading The Definitive Guide to Copywriting that I co-authored.

It covers virtually everything you need to know.

Conclusion

Let’s recap.

Humans are emotional creatures, and most of our purchasing decisions are based primarily on emotion.

There’s just no getting around it.

Understanding this phenomenon is the first step to creating an airtight landing page.

By utilizing the right psychology-based strategies, such as visuals, colors, and so on, you can target key emotions and increase the odds of your leads responding favorably (making a purchase).

And the payoff is obvious: an increased conversion rate for maximum ROI.

If your landing page is lacking emotional advertising, you’ll want to address this issue right away.

Can you think of any other ways to target landing page visitors on an emotional level?


Quick Sprout

By

8 Content Marketing Tricks That Helped Dollar Shave Club Go Viral #bigcitymarketinggroup

8 Content Marketing Tricks That Helped Dollar Shave Club Go ViralAsk any North-American male aged 17-30 whether he’s heard of Dollar Shave Club (DSC).

He’ll probably say, “Yeah.”

And it’s not just dudes who know about DSC. A lot of women know about it too because they’ve bought subscriptions for the men in their lives.

Dollar Shave Club is a classic example of startup that blew up—in a good way.

What was one of the first signs of their success?

A video. A viral video.

If you haven’t seen it, you ought to check it out:

The company’s launch video, casually titled “Our Blades Are F**king Great,” quickly became a sensation on the web.

With punchlines and gags to suit a variety of tastes, the video racked up nearly 5 million views within the first 90 days.

Download this cheat sheet to learn about 8 key strategies that Dollar Shave Club has used for their content to go viral.

The company’s founder, Michael Dubin, had a few aces up his sleeve to help create a professionally cut video.

The CEO studied performing arts at Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) in New York, where he learned to use the power of comedy to capture the attention of an audience.

He also leveraged his contacts from his time at UCB to bring on a director and connect with a production studio that helped keep costs low. The original DSC launch video was only $ 4,500.

Most brands trying to produce a tightly choreographed video like the one DSC produced would expect to spend closer to $ 60k.

But the viral video wasn’t pure luck. The whole thing was carefully orchestrated. But let’s be honest, most startups aren’t Dollar Shave Club.

You probably don’t have a background in theater to help you be as funny as DSC’s CEO, and it’s not likely that you’ll create something that goes on to secure over 7 million views.

But don’t get caught up on the view count. You can still be successful without trying to chase the same numbers if you break down what DSC did in their quest for a successful launch.

Here are 8 tricks you can pull from their viral campaigns to help you boost your own content strategy.

1. The power of video

Simply put, video is the best format for telling stories. You can connect with a consumer and establish a powerful emotional connection with your audience through the use of video more so than any other content format.

You can flesh out that one concept that resonates with an audience and deliver it with a voice and personality that captivates them through a one-on-one connection.

DSC use of video was a smart move, especially given video usage statistics. HubSpot shares a number of compelling stats that show why diversifying content marketing to include video is a smart move:

  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others
  • More than a third of all online activity involves watching videos
  • More than a third of consumers trust video ads
  • 80% of users can recall a video ad they viewed in the last 30 days
  • Enjoyment of video advertising increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%

2. Great storytelling

I’m convinced that great storytelling is crucial to a brand’s viral success. This happened at DSC.

Here’s the story (about the story) from Adam Weber, Dollar Shave Club’s CMO.

“What we’ve really focused in on since our launch video has been all about finding which new stories to tell, to what consumers, and then finding the right distribution platforms to tell them. We take our video storytelling to the obvious places. We do a lot of investment in television, which is a great place to tell a narrative with video.”

Here’s more of his explanation:

I think in the long term, as you get more into the digital places, the social outlets like YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter — those types of venues are great venues for telling stories via video. Those have become an increasingly larger part of our game plan. They offer a lot of unique capabilities that something like television doesn’t offer.

Not every aspect of a marketing strategy needs to contain storytelling, but it should be a part of your marketing strategy, and DSC’s success is proof of that. There are three reasons why it works.

image05

  1. First, stories grab the attention of the audience. When you have an impressive and captivating narrative, people will want to satisfy their curiosity—especially if the story is relatable.
  2. Second, having a strong narrative helps build the trust with your audience. People trust you more when you open up and share personal stories with them. It works very similarly when brands share their narratives, and it brings the audience back for more.
  3. And third, stories simply do a better job at grabbing the attention of most people over raw content like statistics or facts. Not to say those aren’t interesting at all, but you’re guaranteed to capture more interest if you can tell a story around facts and data.

3. They knew their audience

Another thing that stands out with Dollar Shave Club is their knowledge of their target audience. DSC talks to men in a pretty relatable voice, providing something that never existed when it comes to men’s grooming products.

Prior to Dollar Shave Club, a lot of the razor content and brand positioning either used a highbrow “gentlemanly” approach or painted men as hairy Neanderthals who needed blades with the edge of a katana to stay smooth.

But how long can you sell products pushing the “closer shave” approach?

Dollar Shave Club shows that when you take the time to unearth what your audience wants, you learn how to talk to them. You can create content that uses language they can relate to, with ideas that make sense.

image04

Every content marketing strategy should begin with good, deep buyer research so you know what they want, how they want it, where to find them and how to get it to them.

4. Focused on the value proposition

No matter how hilarious the video is, all those views won’t translate into sales and revenue if you can’t connect the product to the consumer in some way. Storytelling is a good start, but so is knowing your audience.

Dollar Shave Club knocked it out of the park by staying focused on the value proposition with their messaging and content, from landing pages to videos.

image02

When you watch the videos, you understand the convenience of never having to shop for replacement blades, and you also appreciate the price. I know, like many men do, the frustration of watching the price of blade replacements climb constantly.

Dollar Shave Club didn’t have a unique product. Razors are everywhere. Still, they developed a unique value proposition around their products and made sure to keep that front and center throughout their content marketing campaigns.

5. Easily sharable

Dollar Shave Club includes traditional media placement, like television, in their marketing strategy. But the success of the launch and rapid growth can be attributed to the shareability of their digital content.

By creating a variety of video content, along with stop-motion animations, promoted through social media, they made it easy for prospective customers and consumers to share that content with their friends and family.

image03

It was, and still is, a perfect formula for getting content to spread. Simply create content that triggers positive emotions.

Awe-inspiring content, humor, and strong stories make any piece of content engaging and shareable.

6. Every word has a purpose

Early in the production process, Dubin had a sizable script that ran upwards of four pages. Part of the creative process meant trimming that down. It’s an approach you have to take with content, no matter the format.

If content isn’t 100% essential to delivering the message, it needs to be cut. Every word, moment, and frame of a video must have a purpose or a point.

Once the content was stripped down to its bare bones, focused only on the brand messaging, the team went to work scripting humorous content to keep the video light-hearted, but sharp-witted and funny.

People understand brand messaging, and when you subvert that, they recognize the risk you took,

says Lucia Aniello who directed the launch video for Dollar Shave Club and worked with Dubin to craft the script.

Learn to trust the funny. If you take a risk, you may get a reward.

A perfect example is the unofficial tagline of the company that acts as the title for the first video. While trying to establish a solid line that would hit the audience hard at the beginning of the video, Aniello suggested “Our blades are f**king great.”

image00

I remember Mike’s face when I first said that line,

Aniello recalls.

There was a half a second of concern, and then whatever angel sitting on his shoulder—or devil maybe—said, “Go for it.”

7. Strategic content release

There are plenty of marketers who will tell you that Dollar Shave Club just got lucky with the content. Some would say the same for the Old Spice commercials that mixed randomness with wit and humor.

Luck certainly plays a role in any piece of content going viral, but timing is important as well. Dollar Shave Club knew this much, which is why they had some strategy for the release of their content.

In fact, the video was technically live online before it was a viral hit as the team showed it around to attract investors and to gauge reactions.

When it came time to launch, the video piggybacked on a funding announcement Dubin knew would gather plenty of media coverage. That pushed a lot of traffic toward the content and ensured it wouldn’t disappear among the countless hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day.

You have to think strategically to give your content a fighting chance. Don’t try to release content into a vacuum.

8. The content was funny

People don’t share content just for the sake of sharing it. Think about the content you’ve shared most recently. There are likely one or more reasons you did so:

  • The content resonated with you on a personal level through a common thought or belief
  • It was inspirational and connected with you emotionally
  • It was funny or educational—or both
  • You found value in it and felt your connections would also enjoy it

The Dollar Shave Club video, and much of their content marketing, revolves around an amusing, witty, self-deprecating sense of humor. It’s compelling in a Jackass/Knoxville kind of way (minus the violent shots to the groin.)

image01

But you don’t need to have raw comedic talent or formal training to make a strong connection with your audience. In fact, if you try too hard, your message could come off as forced.

It worked for DSC because they knew their audience, but more importantly, it was the personality of the brand. There was consistency in the brand messaging and the content itself.

DSC wasn’t funny just for the sake of being funny.

Conclusion

The success of Dollar Shave Club’s content can be replicated, but it shouldn’t be duplicated.

With the right strategy, you can develop content that will captivate your audience. You just need to understand what they want and discover how to talk to them.

With that information, you can diversify and produce content in formats that will be most successful with the people you’re trying to target.

You don’t need to be funny. You just need to be authentic, sincere, consistent, and willing to listen.

What tricks can you borrow from Dollar Shave Club to increase your brand’s power?


Quick Sprout

By

14 Advanced SEO Tactics That Your Competition Doesn’t Know About #bigcitymarketinggroup

Believe it or not, SEO is still an ultra-powerful tool in 2016.

I posted recently that SEO isn’t dead—far from it. If Google is still taking it seriously after all these years, you should too.

In fact, SEO might be more powerful than ever, and for one simple reason: Most sites are neglecting their SEO.

A lot of people have convinced themselves that SEO isn’t worth pursuing. Others tell themselves it shouldn’t be a priority.

It’s an easy mistake to make, and believe me, I’ve been there. I wasted time not taking SEO seriously, and it hurt me.

What does that mean for you? If you pay attention to your SEO, you’ll see real results. It might take some time, but it’ll be worth every second.

And it doesn’t hurt to be in the know. If you do some simple research on little-known SEO techniques, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.

To get you started on the path to SEO mastery, here’s a list of 14 advanced SEO tactics your competition doesn’t know about.

1. Expand your presence

You’ve heard the saying “don’t put all your eggs into one basket.” That’s true for SEO, but so many people still focus on only one or two aspects of SEO.

For this tactic, you’ll concentrate on becoming more visible across multiple platforms.

One way is to create as many social media profiles as possible for your brand. In short, you need to be actively involved on as many networks as possible.

And don’t skip some channels because you think they’re unpopular. For example, you might not include Foursquare or Periscope in your current social media strategy, but if you do utilize them, you can reach an audience you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

Think of this technique as marking your territory. Your SEO will organically improve because you’ll be in more places. It’s a simple yet powerful strategy you can start using today.

2. Create a mobile app

You probably think I’m crazy, but hear me out: creating a mobile app can help bolster your SEO.

Granted, this is a rather expensive option, but it’s also an investment.

How exactly can an app boost your SEO? Google is now indexing apps on Google search with Firebase App Indexing.

When people are searching for keywords in your niche, they could find your app, and that creates some juicy SEO.

For example, when you search “reserve a restaurant” on Google, you’ll find an app on page one:

image04

When your app pops up on a Google search, it automatically becomes a valuable resource.

But back to the main point—you can see the benefits of having a high-ranking app on Google. Yes, it’s costly, but it’s so worth it.

3. Fix any crawl errors

According to Google, URL errors are “specific errors Google encountered when trying to crawl specific desktop or phone pages.” Some common examples are 404, DNS, and server errors.

image00

While these errors seem harmless, they have a big impact on your SEO. If you have any crawl errors, your SEO is hurting.

But don’t worry—crawl errors often have simple fixes. I highly recommend checking out Moz’s awesome article on fixing crawl errors.

4. Optimize your images

If you haven’t been optimizing your images for SEO, start now—there’s no time like the present.

And if your site is especially image-heavy, you need to put the extra work in here. As a result, you’ll get a faster-loading more SEO-friendly site.

Here are a few easy ways you can enhance your images’ SEO:

  • Give your images specific names (e.g., traffic-analysis-graph.jpg)
  • Give your images keyword-rich alt titles (but don’t go overboard!)
  • Use the smallest possible file sizes (but don’t sacrifice the quality)

5. Use latent semantic indexing (LSI)

Although latent semantic indexing (LSI) is very powerful, not very many sites are using it. And that’s a shame because LSI can give your site a serious SEO boost.

LSI is the process search engines use to find related keywords in addition to your main keywords. In other words, LSI finds synonyms for keywords.

For example, if you’re writing an article about Facebook, you’d include “social media network” as an LSI keyword.

Let’s take a look at LSI in action. When you Google “buy new laptop,” one of the first pages that pops up is this TechRadar post:

image01

Right away, you can see that “best laptops” is one of the post’s keywords.

You can see other keywords and phrases sprinkled throughout such as “budget” and “affordable.” And sure enough, when you Google “budget laptop” and “affordable laptop,” the post appears on page 1.

This article is a great example of how LSI can improve your SEO. Take it for a spin, and you’ll see just how effective it can be.

6. Optimize your landing pages

When you create your landing pages, are you thinking about SEO? If you’re not, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

You’ll be driving tons of traffic to your landing pages, but if they’re not SEO optimized, you’re doing yourself a major disservice.

Let’s take a look at a landing page from Copyblogger that I analyzed on NeilPatel.com:

image05

Copyblogger’s landing pages perform so well only because the team put a lot of work into them. Here’s how you can do the same:

  • use one or two long-tail keywords to write your landing page;
  • make sure your copy is at least 2,000 words long;
  • make sure your copy is strong, clear, and relevant to your audience.

It’s not rocket science, but it does take effort. Put in the effort now, and reap the rewards later.

7. Spy on your competitors’ keywords

This is a sneaky trick that will put you way ahead of your competition.

By spying on your competitors’ keywords, you can see exactly what you’re up against and compare your own performance to that of your competition’s.

You can use SEMrush to easily find keywords. This is a crazy useful tool, and it’s free!

Enter the site of your choice (e.g., quicksprout.com), and you’ll see something like this:

image02

You can see the top organic keywords, their volume, and traffic amount. But I especially like that you can see a site’s main organic competitors as well.

If you scroll down, you can also see the top paid keywords and competitors. And if you need more detail, just click on “View full report.”

Don’t forget to enter your own site on SEMrush. Like I said, it’s a crazy useful tool, and you should use it regularly.

8. Fix your broken links

I use a lot of links in my blog posts. Unfortunately, linking isn’t a set-and-forget process. What’s new today is old tomorrow, and some links you use may die in the future.

If your site has lots of broken links, search engines will view your site as less accessible. That’s why you need to make sure all of your links, both internal and external, are alive and healthy.

I like using SEO Spider by Screaming Frog to check for broken links. Plus, it’s handy for a lot of other SEO areas.

image06

9. Sniff out unnecessary code

Code is good, but you know what they say about having too much of a good thing.

In this case, if your site has excess code, search engines will take longer to crawl your site, which is bad. On-page JavaScript and CSS are among the main offenders here.

Your code should be as lightweight as possible. This will also help your page load time, and a faster load time means better SEO.

10. Fix any errors in your code

Excess code is bad, but erroneous code is even worse.

Errors in your code will also cause search engines to take longer to crawl your site. Too many mistakes can signify that you have a poorly maintained site, which will cause your SEO to tank.

You can check for errors using W3’s markup and CSS validation services. Depending on the size of your site, it may take a while to fix the errors, but it’s well worth the effort.

11. Tell a story with your internal link structure

This idea comes from Ben Oren of Search Engine Journal. He says that your link structure should tell a story. In other words, when you read your anchors consecutively, you should get a clear idea of your site’s theme.

When you’re creating your anchors, make an anchor story of your own. Link from your newer posts to your older posts, and make sure you’re following internal linking best practices.

12. Join question-and-answer sites

People are hungry for knowledge. That’s why so many people post on Q&A sites like Yahoo! Answers and Quora.

But there aren’t many answers out there. That’s where you come in.

The trick is to compose a thorough, well-written answer to someone’s question, preferably a question that doesn’t have many answers. You need to write the best answer possible and include links to your site when it’s relevant. (Don’t get spammy here!)

By doing this, you’re accomplishing two things at once. First, you’re helping the person asking. Second, you’re getting attention to your links, exposing them to countless readers. You’ll be seen as a valuable resource by the community, and people will be more likely to click your links.

13. Use infographics

Infographics pack a huge SEO punch. At Kissmetrics, we used infographics to generate over 2 million visitors and 41,142 backlinks. And our infographic strategy is still flourishing:

image03

For your infographics to be super powerful, you need two things: great design and great content. Don’t overlook the content when creating infographics. Lots of people do, and guess what? Their infographics don’t perform well.

I also recommend coupling your infographic with at least 2,000 words of high-quality content. That’s because Google won’t index the text on the infographic itself, so writing longform content will give you extra ranking power.

14. Consider making videos

Video marketing is relatively new, and it’s absolutely blowing up.

Marketing Land found that videos make up 62% of all Google searches. And it’s easier to get a video to rank on page 1 of Google than a site.

If you’re not making videos already, check out this post for more on enhancing your SEO using videos.

Conclusion

SEO is more alive than ever before.

If you want a thriving site in 2016 and beyond, you have to have a firm grasp of SEO principles. And if you go beyond the basics, it’s even better.

Need another reason to start taking SEO seriously? Here’s one: as SEO moves forward, many sites will stay in the past. They won’t pay attention to Google’s algorithm updates or the effect of mobile use on SEO.

But if you stay up-to-date with SEO, your site will improve by leaps and bounds while your competitors’ sites get left behind in the dust.

You can tell I’m a fan of SEO. That’s because I know the power of SEO. It’s not an outdated gimmick—it’s a long-term strategy with lasting benefits.

Put in the work to keep your SEO in tip-top shape. Trust me, it’s so worth it.

What’s your SEO strategy for out-hustling your competition?


Quick Sprout

By

10 Contact Page Techniques That Make People Get in Touch with You #bigcitymarketinggroup

contact

Your website’s contact form may seem like the most mundane element of your site, but every marketer should pay attention to it.

In the past, I didn’t give contact forms much attention. It was a sub-secondary didn’t-care-about-it page when I had a lot more to worry about.

Then, I ran some tests on removing a single form field and found this one change boosted my conversions by 26%.

A 26% lift may not seem impressive to some, but from an annual perspective, that one change grew revenue well into six figures.

If you know anything about me, you know I’m obsessed with split testing. I kept testing, kept tweaking, and kept optimizing my contact page. With every test, I learned some new lessons.

Here’s my big takeaway: Getting people to contact you is valuable. Making it easy for them to contact you is even better.

Why? Because these are warm leads.

Anything you do to move qualified leads into your funnel is a smart move.

How do you turn your boring ol’ contact page into a massive lead magnet?

Let me give you the perspective-setting intro, then we’ll dive into some tricks.

Shift perspective to focus on the right things

When marketers are examining their funnels, they typically look at everything under a microscope, especially calls to action (CTAs).

There’s this huge drive to make sure CTAs are perfect. So we change, test, retest, compare samples, examine confidence levels, play with colors, and test some more until we feel like our landing pages are kicking ass and taking names.

Do a search for conversion optimization case studies, and you’ll see what I’m talking about:

image16

I searched and came up with pages of landing page, sales page, e-commerce and opt-in case studies.

What you see less often is case studies on the performance of the contact page. Yet, it’s the one constant customers tend to be most familiar with and use for a variety of reasons:

  • can’t find something on the site
  • need help with a return
  • custom order information
  • wholesale request
  • vendor inquiry
  • press and media requests
  • affiliate requests
  • finding out hours of operation

That’s just a few things that funnel through the contact page.

The magic of contact page optimization

Given its potential for not only generating leads but also acting as a potent trust signal and delighting customers, the contact page should be in your top 5 list of conversion points to fix.

Here’s a case in point. Click Optimize took on a client that saw, on average, 3,800 monthly visits, which generated around 56 goal completions on the “contact us” page.

image13

They tightened up the contact page and added a short-list contact form in the sidebar of the content. The result was impressive. Without any real change in the amount of traffic, the goal completions climbed to 175.

image02

Imaginary Landscape relies on its contact form to generate new leads for the company. The original form on the “contact us” page contained a total of 21 fields and check boxes. Clearly, the company wanted to gather as much information as possible on leads.

The downside is the data-heavy form was seeing a conversion rate of just above 5%.

image07

The company revamped its contact page, trimming it down to four fields to minimize the load on the visitor:

image05

What I’ve consistently seen with contact pages is that less is more.

When you look at forms like the first one above, with all the extra information, a lot of those fields are extraneous. They provide little value in terms of qualifying a lead.

When you trim it down to just the information that’s important, conversions go up. In this case, they rose from 5.4% to 11.9%—an increase of 120%.

image00

But I want to clarify something here because I don’t want to set a dangerous precedent and have you running to your “contact us” page and chopping fields from it.

Less is more, but just the fact that you have less of something doesn’t mean you’ll have more of something else.

It’s okay if that doesn’t make sense. I’ll clarify with another case study by Econsultancy. They shared a daring test from Kindercare.

Kindercare is a national chain with more than 1,700 child care centers throughout the United States. That means it has to maintain a careful balance of increasing contact conversions while gathering as much information from parents as possible.

In one split test, Kindercare decided to increase the length of its form:

image08

Based on everything I’ve said up to this point, you would expect that to be a mistake.

To their surprise, conversions didn’t plummet. There was no drop from using the longer form, and they benefited by getting extra information for their sales team while the quality of leads increased.

That’s the point I want to make about this: It’s not always about fewer form fields.

It’s about collecting the right information and using fields that have a higher perceived value to the prospect.

If they feel that they’re forced to share pointless information, you’ll lose them.

Dan Zarrella researched the contact forms of 40,000 of their customers and found that conversion rates improve by almost half when the number of form fields is reduced from four to three.

Results vary, of course. You need to test what works on your contact page specifically, and that’s what this post is about.

Here’s everything else you should be looking at to design a contact page that creates more conversions and provides real value to you and your visitors.

1. Long forms or multi-step

Since we’re talking about form fields, there’s another point I want to address.

You don’t always have to chop the fields to simplify the submission process of getting in touch with you.

If you absolutely must collect information, but your conversions are abysmal because of the opt-in you’re using on your contact page, you should consider a multi-step contact page.

You’ll see this a lot with landing pages because it’s effective. It presents the visitor with a few basic fields—the most vital information you need to obtain.

When they click “submit,” they are taken to another form that gathers just a little more information. This gives you the extended information you need, but the visitor feels they are only making short submissions.

It reduces the chance for the visitor to feel fatigued or frustrated.

Vendio’s design is an example of it:

image01

The version on the left was a bulleted list that led to the contact form in a multi-step submission.

The version on the right had the contact form embedded into the first page and was a single-step process.

In that case, the two-step process lead to a 59% increase in form completion.

2. Building trust with visitors

The people visiting your site have already taken time out of their day and spent it with you. They have some kind of a problem, and they’re hoping you offer the solution. When they’re ready to engage, they visit your contact page.

And that’s where they are met with fields asking for a lot of personal information.

If you want them to hand the info over, you need to establish trust and reduce friction. Achieving that is a lot like the way we engage people in the real world. It comes down to the little things you can do when engaging someone:

  • Be clear about how personal information is used and the purpose of the form.
  • Articulate that all information is kept private and link to your privacy policy.
  • List your contact information on the “Contact Us” page; it’s easier for people to share information with other people and not some blindly labeled web property.
  • Keep the user experience in mind; don’t use complex fields that require dashes or special characters.
  • Place trust signals on your contact page: affiliations, certifications, awards, and membership badges.
  • Show social proof with testimonials that include faces.

image12

3. Be hesitant to use mandatory form fields

But we need all this information for our sales people.

Have you heard that before?

It doesn’t matter what you want. It’s what the customer wants. Don’t be one of the reluctant marketers who hate optional form fields.

Countless tests have shown you can get better data, and better qualified leads, by not requiring data in your form. Here’s an example:

image11

The above form, void of required fields, converted 31% more visitors into leads. Not only that, the leads were actually more qualified buyers.

Trust goes both ways, and your prospective customers are more likely to respect you more and supply better information when they feel like you trust them.

4. Ask only for information that matters

Simply put,

if you don’t need to know it, don’t ask for it.

You’ll get far more conversions from your contact page by sticking only to the information you need to make an initial contact with a lead.

Everything else can be plugged into your CRM later once you have a chance to make a personal contact.

Right now, it’s just about getting them to click “submit.”

It’s amazing how much friction is generated by asking for unnecessary information. For example:

  • Asking for age reduces conversion by 3%.
  • Requiring a telephone number, or even asking for it, creates the implication that someone will be calling. This can drop conversions by 5%.
  • Asking for targeted geographic data, like city and state, reduces submissions by 2%.
  • Get even more specific with a street address, and conversions drop by another 4%.image15

Total it all up, and you’ll get a significant number. Depending on how much traffic you get, a drop of up to 15% in conversions can be pretty significant.

Every single item on the above list can be acquired after you make contact with your prospect.

5. Be responsive

By responsive, I don’t mean quick to reply. I’ve talked before about the importance of responsive designs and having sites that function well on mobile devices. This is certainly no exception.

Eighty percent of Internet users own smartphones and use them to browse the web, followed by 47% who use tablets.

If your contact page isn’t optimized for a mobile experience, you’re eliminating a huge segment of your audience who won’t bother wrestling with your contact form. They’ll simply leave.

This is especially important if you have a brick and mortar business and use maps or other identifying information on your contact page. When your visitors can’t manipulate, see, or interact with your local contact information, you’ll have a hell of a time getting them into your store.

To make sure your contact page looks and functions great on mobile, go to UserTesting.com and crowdsource UX testing. You’ll get unbiased consumer feedback on your contact process.

6. Reduce friction with minimal design

There are endless ways to design a contact page. Service-based online businesses can streamline the contact process by almost completely reducing friction on their contact pages.

InvisionApp doesn’t get flashy with its contact page. It asks the most basic information, and it gets the job done. Other than its drop-down menu, there’s virtually no friction on this page:

image06

While drop-down menus can potentially cause significant friction, I don’t feel like it would be as limiting on this contact page due to a simplified form and effective use of negative space.

image04

7. Match your brand

When you’re trying to create a branded experience on your site, don’t let your contact page feel like a blemish that ruins the overall experience. While minimalist contact forms can be an effective way to get submissions, you can also do well when your form is a seamless transition that supports the message you’re trying to send.

For example, Mostly Serious is a digital agency that provides great interactive experiences, covering content, branding, and site design.

Their contact page is a brilliant representation of their approach to branding and interactive experiences. While asking for a lot of information, the form reduces friction by breaking the information into segments. There are also interactive sliders that provide a kind of customization element that’s almost enjoyable to complete.

image03

Browns Court Bakery is another good example of maintaining branding on the contact page:

image14

8. Take a new approach

In a world filled with contact forms, it’s refreshing to see a different approach that works. Built By Buffalo provides a number of ways for their customers to get in touch with their team. Rather than clutter their contact page with all the methods plus a contact form, they eliminated the obvious form fields.

image09

Instead, the company targets their primary communication channels as a means of making personal contact with the team. It’s a great example of how to include a lot of detail without clutter.

9. Change your call to action

There’s no shortage of lessons on the web about how to create amazing call-to-action buttons that maximize conversions. It’s not really necessary to go that in-depth on the subject with your contact page.

The best piece of advice for your call to action on the contact page is to stop using “Submit.”

In one study, forms using the CTA “Submit” showed a decrease in conversions of almost 3%.

Instead, use less-common action words and phrases. Using “Click here” resulted in a 30% increase in conversions, while “Go” showed a 25% lift.

10. Drop the Captcha

I get that security is important and you want to eliminate spam. It’s annoying when garbage comes through your contact form. But Captcha fields don’t stop the spammers from making manual submissions (and they will).

They will, however, stop your prospective customers from converting on your contact page. One study showed that Captcha can reduce conversions by as much as 3%.

image10

Conclusion

Don’t spend too much time focusing on the design of your contact page. Your visitors won’t be wowed by aesthetics. That won’t drive them to contact you. Instead, focus on reducing friction to improve conversions.

No matter what you do with your contact form, the more friction you eliminate, the more goal completions and submissions you’ll see.

Make the experience a better one; test everything you do; and you’ll find that communication and conversion will improve overall.

What are some ways you’ve improved your contact page to generate more leads?


Quick Sprout