4 Questions You Must Ask To See If Your Website Is Underperforming

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Is your website underperforming and if it is, what can you do about it?

To help determine the performance of your website, start by establishing the following benchmarks:

  1. What is my site’s domain authority?

Do Google and the other search engines see your site? Are your pages properly indexed and optimized? Domain authority helps indicate how well your site performs in a search engine. This tool provides your site with a score between 0-100.   There are several online tools that will look at your site and provide you with this score. Let us know if you need help with this, and we will happily assist you with providing your site with its domain authority.

  1. Where is the traffic to my website coming from?

Google Analytics provides you a tool that will show you where the traffic is coming from. Generally categorized as free and paid traffic, Google separates traffic by referral (coming from other sites), direct (paid traffic), organic (free search), and social (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter).

  1. What is the net traffic to my website?

Google Analytics provides the number of visitors to your site. Calculating the number of net visitors is the number of visitors subtracted by the back rate or bounce rate. The back rate is the number of visitors who leave immediately after they visit the site. The bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).

  1. What is my site’s conversion rate?

Conversion rate represents the percentage of visitors who complete your desired action. That could be filling out a form, purchasing a product, or calling a telephone number. Simply, conversion rate is the number of conversions divided by the net number of visitors to your website.

Establishing these benchmarks is important to setting goals that will help improve the performance of your website. And, the beauty of website performance improvement is that you can increase revenue without increasing advertising spend!

Our white paper How To Improve Your Website For More Leads and Profit is full of additional ways to turn your website into a powerful lead generator. To request your free copy, click here.

Have you had success turning your underperforming website around? If so, tell us how you did it.

7 Sure-Fire Ways To Make Your Content Marketing Drive Sales

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content-marketing-wheelContent marketing is in that awkward position. It’s been around long enough that everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon, but not around long enough that everyone knows just how to do that. Effectively, anyway. But, make no mistake about it, content marketing is a must no matter what line of business you’re in. Here are ways I suggest you get started.

  1. Start A Blog

Sounds easy enough, right? Well…yes and no. Yes, anyone can start a blog, but creating an effective one takes some thought and a time investment. Think of your blog as your opportunity to have a one-on-one with each and every one of your prospects, then construct your message accordingly. And, because so many people will see your blog, make sure it is professionally written.

  1. Follow Your Blog With An E-Mail

This is a powerful one-two-punch. Use your blog content to feed your e-mail database and create a meaningful and effective drip sequence.

  1. Keep In Top Of Mind

How frequently you blog depends on what you’re selling and whom you’re trying to communicate with. As I’ve said before, your job is to find the perfect balance between not enough communication and too much. You don’t want to alienate your audience. Once a week is a good goal, with additional posts as is warranted for breaking news, special promotions, etc.

  1. Track Your Leads

The only way to know if your blog is delivering leads is if you track it. Look for trends. Monitor the kinds of leads you’re getting as well.

  1. Capture Information

Readers of your blog want to hear what you have to say. Make sure you can have an ongoing communication with them by capturing their pertinent information…and you can entice them to keep coming back and to buy. Information gathering is crucial in this step too. You can track to see how many blog posts a prospect has to read before they convert. Know that number, and you have a very powerful sales tool.

  1. Aim To Convert Readers Into Customers

This ones ties back to content. Content is king! But, blog content has to be combined with strategy. You have to know the story you are telling as well as the path you are going to take your prospects down.

  1. Be In It For The Long Haul

Results are not instantaneous. You have to be patient and keep getting the content in front of your prospects. While we all love a fast sale, the beauty of content marketing is all the data you are able to collect that helps you tailor your approach.

Share your content marketing strategies with us and let us know what’s working for you.

Ready to learn more about how to generate valuable content to drive leads from your website? Let’s talk.

 

 

 

 

Cold Calling Has Finally Been Put On Ice

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I’ve waited a long time to be able to write a headline like that. It feels pretty good. So, if you’re sales people are still cold calling, it’s time they enter the 21st century. Believe me, they’ll thank you. All sales people hate cold calling, and everyone hates being the recipient of a cold call – in short the era of the cold call has come and gone. And, I say, “Good riddance!”

The reason there is no longer a need for cold calling is because we have so much information at our disposal. There’s no reason why you can’t find out beneficial information about your prospects and put that to good use. It’s time to nurture your leads.

How To Nurture Your Leads

A good lead-nurturing program has to have ongoing, relevant communication with targeted prospects. Through lead nurturing you can build a trust relationship that fast tracks your leads to money.

Involve your sales people in your lead-nurturing program. They are the ones interacting with your customers and prospects on a daily basis. Use their knowledge! Have an ongoing dialogue with your sales people. Ask what the most frequent questions they get are, what are the biggest objections they hear, what are prospects telling them they need – you get the idea. Once you have their input, you can develop content that speaks to these issues, creating white papers, articles, targeted e-mail campaigns, etc.

Cold calling has always gotten a bad wrap, and rightfully so because most calls are not beneficial to the person on the other end of the line. Cold calls are intrusive and more often than not miss the mark. Lead nurturing on the other hand allows you to select targeted prospects and deliver customized, useful information to them. Marketing automation can also assist by letting you know your prospects’ habits on your website, e-mail campaigns, and webinars. This is invaluable information that enables you to communicate with your prospects based on their actions and responses, so you can guide their journey along the buying process, feeding them easily digestible information along the way. Combine this with lead scoring, and you’ll know when it’s time to pick up the phone and have a “warm call” with your prospect because you’ll know where they are in the buying process and what their potential concerns are because you’ve nurtured your leads.

4 Steps To A Scientific Approach To Lead Generation

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Each of us has lead generation goals. Digital marketing tactics, pay-per-click, SEO, e-mail, and affiliate and digital advertising drive traffic to the company website.  Google analytics (and other analytic tools) help us determine what is working.  But, what do you do when things are not working?  Do you really have the right plan in place to meet your goals?  Here are some tips that will help you focus and ensure that you are putting your efforts into the best plan to produce the highest return.

1.  Use a traffic and lead generation calculator

Hubspot.com has a pretty good traffic and lead generation calculator you can check out.  It’s an Excel based tool that will help you estimate how much web traffic you’ll need to meet your lead generation goals.  Or just follow these steps:

  • How many units do you plan to sell each month?
  • Translate that into a monthly revenue goal.
  • What is the average revenue per unit sold?
  • How many leads do you need to meet the monthly units sold goal?
  • How many monthly visitors do you need to meet the lead goal?

 2.  Set up a dashboard to track results

If you are not using marketing automation to track your marketing campaigns, set up your own dashboard to track results.  Key performance analytics like traffic source, behavior, clicks, opens, conversion, and cost per campaign should be captured and tracked over time.

3.  Track results by call-to-action

Track individual call-to-action and content campaigns by traffic and lead conversion. Focus on what is working best and work to design new campaigns using the most productive content.

4.  Design an idea generator and call-to-action calendar

Using analytics, identify what is working best.  Then brainstorm related content idea that could generate similar results.  Finally, create a call-to-action calendar to schedule content tests and use your dashboard to help track success.

By being proactive and implementing these four tactics, your lead gen strategy should continue to thrive and deliver results. As with anything, the best plan delivers the best results.

Five Business Books That You Can Really Learn Something From

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I’ve found that one of the great ways to learn is to learn from other people’s success and mistakes.  That’s why I love to read a good business book. Some of the best get very specific about business problems and the approaches used to solve them. Others provide great, personal stories about business adventure and how the author navigated through some issue that they faced.

There are thousands of great business books, and I feel like I have read most of them.  Cutting the list down to my five greatest hits is challenging, but I set a few criteria to help me with my evaluation:

  • Innovative:  The author has something new to say about a business topic. Or, the approach to the topic is of great value.
  • Practical:  After reading the book I felt like I gained valuable insight that can be applied to what I am working on.
  • Entrepreneurial: The author writes about how taking risk affected them in someway.
  • Great Stories:  The book is engaging and full of personal stories, humor, excitement, and advice.

Here are my top five business books I highly recommend you read. They aren’t in any particular order.

1.  The Art Of The Start by Guy Kawasaki

Most of the people who read my Blog are self-employed or work for an entrepreneur.  If you want to get a sense of what an entrepreneur goes through both personally and professionally, this is the book for you.  Guy Kawasaki, a former Apple executive, takes his readers on an insightful and impactful journey on how to start a business.  The take-away is specific, practical advice that you can use to help raise capital, implement a marketing campaign, generate sales, and manage your new business.

2.  The Signal and The Noise by Nate Silver

Nate Silver, the former New York Times blogger and presidential election forecaster, has written an outstanding book about the power of big data and predictive modeling.  Silver, who now works for ESPN, started his forecasting career designing predictive models for baseball.  After the firm he started was sold, he joined the New York Times.  His blog focused on politics, and his statistical models helped predict the outcome of various congressional, senatorial, and presidential elections. If you are interested in learning how to use past behavior to predict future behavior in politics, business, and sports (three of my personal favorite subjects!), you will love this book.

3.  Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Sometimes called the “father of modern advertising,” David Ogilvy’s book is a must read for anyone interested in the advertising business.  Written 30 years ago, Ogilvy’s “rules” are still quite relevant today. His approach to successful advertising, based on research, testing, and data, is the basis for today’s marketing campaigns.

Ogilvy is a master storyteller, and you’ll love his hilarious experiences working with some of the largest clients in the world.

4.  MoneyBall by Michael Lewis

For years I’ve blogged and spoken about the “MoneyBall” approach to business. The approach, using historical (baseball) stats to predict future performance, is told brilliantly by Michael Lewis.  His book, released as a motion picture a few years ago starting Brad Pitt (I strongly recommend seeing that too), tells the story of how an under capitalized Oakland A’s used predictive modeling to put a winning baseball team on the field.  Can this formula also be used to predict winning marketing and lead generation programs? Read the book and let me know your thoughts at dstein@producersdigital.com.

5.  Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Ciadini, Phd.

Did you ever wonder why infomercials are so successful?  Or how about home shopping channels, direct response catalogs, seminars, and websites?  If you are interested in learning more about how persuasion techniques can help close more sales, you’ll want to read Dr. Robert Ciadini’s The Psychology of Persuasion.  I’ve read and re-read this book numerous times (it’s a good idea to try to read it once a year) to freshen and improve content, calls-to-action, and offers for my clients.  This book is a classic on how to get people to the “yes” and the specific techniques necessary to do so.

Happy reading! Let me know if you read any of these and what you thought. Also, if you have any books you recommend, let me know.

 

Five Call-To-Action Strategies That Drive Website Conversion

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Driving leads down your sales funnel is the heart and soul of any lead generation program.  A productive call-to-action strategy can make the difference in meeting your monthly traffic-to-lead conversion objectives.

Here is a list of five ways to use call-to-action to help with your website conversion program.

1.  Content

Content offers like e-books, white papers, booklets, and brochures not only provide a valuable trade (the prospect’s contact information in return for the free content) but also help with building interest and moving the prospect down the sales funnel. Different types of content yield varying results.  This is called “progressive profiling” where value and a measurement of interest are placed on the significance of the content.  For example, a prospect who opts to enter a contest is not as valuable as one who downloads information on how to get financing. As you read though this blog post, I’ll take you through various stages of a progressive profiling strategy, from very low commitment call-to-action form grabbers to high level of interest prospects.

2.  Contests

If you are seeking to grow you database, contests are a great way to go. Have fun with it, but be sure that the contest has some relevance to your brand.  Surveys, questionnaires, and social media driven photo contests work well. Be sure to set your objectives, restrictions, prize(s), and promotional options before you start.

3. Subscriptions

As I mentioned earlier, if you are using progressive profiling as a strategy to qualify your leads, a newsletter is a great way to generate a low-commitment introduction to your brand requests. Use a mini-form to capture the lead’s name and e-mail address, and segment this database for future nurturing.

4. Video Series

Video series content is a powerful offer that combines telling your brand’s story with client testimonials. Anticipate questions that prospects have about your brand and gear the videos as frequently asked questions.

5. Tour and Webinar

Prospects who take your tour and attend a webinar are, of course, your hottest and most engaged leads.  These leads are at the bottom of your lead generation funnel and ready to be integrated into your CRM.

By implementing all or a combination of these five strategies, you are creating the building blocks that will enable you to reach your conversion goals.

5 Ways To Differentiate Your Product Or Service

 

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stand-out-from-the-crowd1It doesn’t matter which business vertical you happen to be in, every market has plenty of competition – make that global competition. So, if you’re to compete, you have to figure out how to make your product or service stand out among the saturated market of your competitors. You have to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Every business has something that is inherently unique and bankable. The challenge lies in identifying it and then communicating it to your market. This is differentiating. This will take effort on your part but will pay off in the end.

5 Ways To Be A Standout In Your Crowded Market

  1. Share Your Story – How did you get to where you are today? What are your corporate values? Your backstory brings inherent value and is perhaps the easiest way to show how you’re different. But, always bring it back to the customer and explain the benefit to them.
  2. Define Your Target Market – Be crystal clear about the customer you are trying to attract and know what value you bring to them that others do not – that’s a difference.
  3. Explain Your Process – Do you have a unique process that adds value…or can you develop one? If so, share it and explain the benefit.
  4. Know Your Limits – Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Don’t ask how you can be better – ask how you can be different. Pick the one or two things that truly differentiate you and focus on those.
  5. Forge New Ground – Aim to be a thought leader, offering a compelling viewpoint. Don’t aim for greater sameness.

You likely noticed that I didn’t mention price, product, service, or branding. That’s because all are ineffective differentiators. Don’t get me wrong. These are all important, but you have to establish your difference (value, uniqueness, and importance) before these elements come into play.

By identifying the distinct ways you bring value to your clients, you differentiate yourself in a way that gains the attention of your customers. However, this is not a one-time assignment. Every market polices itself. So, what was once a differentiator now becomes industry standard. Differentiation is an ongoing process.

How do you differentiate? Share your experience and ideas with me in the Comments section.