SEO and Content Marketing: Your Dynamic Lead Gen Duo


seo-and-content-marketing-working-togetherYou know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You’re creating content for your marketing plan. But, are you connecting the dots between the two? SEO and content marketing must be viewed synergistically. The content you create appeals to the prospects you want to convert to sales. SEO helps the right prospects find your content at the right time. Stripped down to the basics, you can see how reciprocal the two are. That’s why you have to consider both SEO and content and how the two will aid each other when you are developing your marketing plan. Here are some suggestions to help you do this:

  1. Perform an SEO audit and make the necessary changes. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds and is very necessary to let you know how your website is performing. You want to make sure your website is up-to-date with the latest search engines, using the relevant terms and phrases. There are lots of SEO audit DIY instructions online, or I’d be happy to assist you.
  2. Create valuable content and create links. If you do, your content will most likely be optimized for search based solely on its high quality. That means it gets ranked, found, and read, which is exactly what you want. If your content doesn’t get linked and doesn’t have links, it doesn’t get ranked.
  3. Use keywords in your headlines so your content gets viewed strategically. By legitimately using keywords in your headlines and throughout your copy, you optimize your content so it speaks to your prospects where they are in the buying process.
  4. Don’t forget about social media and its important role. Social media platforms are vehicles to assist you with SEO and content. Social media helps you deliver content to talk directly to your prospects, engaging them personally. Social media can help you deliver the solutions prospects are looking for.
  5. Use your employees to help build SEO and content. Businesses can take advantage of their employees’ social networks to build links and help promote their business. For example, an employee with a personal blog can link to the company’s website to share the company’s expert content. This benefit is double-sided. The company gets traffic to the website, and the employee builds his/her online reputation.
  6. SEO is a process of trial and error, but it’s worth it. Data analytics will tell you how well your SEO optimization is working. And, this information is very valuable. You can use it to reshape and retarget your content marketing strategy. But, you have to look at your analytics, and you have to react to what you’re seeing – good or bad.

By following these six steps, you’ll ensure your SEO and content marketing are working together to give you the most benefit.



What’s Coming in 2017 That Will Help You Increase Sales?


predictions_featuredAs the year begins to wind down, I’m already moving ahead and planning for 2017. Maybe you’re doing the same. Here are some key areas I think will be big game-changers in your 2017 marketing plan.

  1. Look at just about any statistics on the topic of digital marketing and you’ll see that mobile dominates. Consumers are increasingly dependent on their mobile devices, and you have to keep pace. So, make sure your mobile search and optimization are up and running.
  1. Online advertising has revolutionized how we do business. If you’re in business, you’re doing online advertising. Period. This creates a lot of demand for top ad billing on online platforms. As this demand grows with more and more competitors vying for those limited top spots, you can expect the costs for online advertising to react and therefore become more expensive for advertisers.
  1. In 2017 we will see social media play an even bigger role in sales. Social media platforms will be used to not only attract prospects but also to convert leads to sales.
  1. With Google unveiling in-SERP video advertising, you can bet that the prevalence and power of video across all online platforms is going to be amped up like never before. Prepare to get your cameras rolling!
  1. Dedicated mobile apps are entering the market and will only continue to grow in importance. This is because consumers are looking for convenience beyond the traditional website and a more intuitive experience. Stay tuned for more developments on this one.
  1. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers or take any desired action on a web page. CRO is expected to join the common vernacular in 2017 as more businesses implement it on their websites and landing pages to track online prospects’ behavior and see what’s working to drive and convert leads.
  1. Content will continue to be king! (I saved this one for last because you know it’s my favorite!) However, the focus will be on making sure your content is unique, impactful, and interactive. And, greater emphasis will be placed on the quality of the content. It better be good. There will be a growing demand for video production as well as niche-based writers who have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter.

I think 2017 is already promising to be an exciting year in the business world. I suggest you keep these seven areas top of mind as you go about planning your strategy for 2017.


2017 Is The Year Of Video Marketing


mobile-video-marketingVideo is a critical component to any good content strategy. And, when it comes to increasing sales, well, video is a top performer. (According to research conducted by Wyzowl.)

  • 4% of consumers prefer to learn about a new product or service by reading a manual
  • 5% prefer speaking to someone on the phone
  • 44% prefer to watch a video

Why do consumers prefer video? Done right, it’s more engaging and creates a more meaningful experience for the viewer. It seems more personal, and that’s a good thing, especially when it comes to forging that all-important trust relationship that is so beneficial to driving sales.

How To Use Video

Multichannel marketing is a relatively new term that speaks to our ability to market to our prospects using various platforms such as websites, blogs, LinkedIn, YouTube, text, Facebook, e-mail, print media, word of mouth, etc. Multichannel marketing is about choice – how, when, and where we communicate to our prospects.

Video is an adaptive medium; it works on multiple platforms. For example, a longer video can be featured on your website to give in-depth information. Clips from that video can be used to communicate a concise message to targeted prospects on LinkedIn. You get the idea. The key with video is the same as with any other form of content: Make sure you’re communicating the right message to the right prospects on the right platform.

You have to make sure your videos (and all of your other content for that matter) are timely, relevant, and targeted. And, please make sure your video quality is good and promotes your brand favorably.

If your 2017 marketing plan doesn’t include video marketing, I recommend you make the necessary adjustments and incorporate this effective sales tool into next year’s strategy.



Proven Ways To Improve Your E-mail Delivery Rate


EM In Box

I often receive inquiries regarding how to design and deploy effective e-mail campaigns.  I’d like to help. I have three thoughts I’d like to share with you on this topic.  First, you can review my previous posts on the subject by reading through the Lead Generation category of my blog.  Second, sign up for my free e-book 34 Ways to Improve Your E-MailFinally, follow my top eight tips below to help you increase your delivery rate.

  1. Keep your e-mail short, which makes it appear more powerful while also making the e-mail more deliverable.
  2. Stay away from spam detector giant images.  Eliminate Flash and JavaScript as well.
  3. Write a subject line that fulfills a benefit to your target audience.
  4. Sign the e-mail with a valid e-mail address.
  5. ALL CAPS IS A REAL NO-NO, as it’s usually flagged as spam.
  6. Words like FREE, for only, bonus, no-investment, and so on are what I call “spammy” words that can affect your delivery rate.
  7. Add color to your links. And, make sure your link to is to a valid location.
  8. Use title links as an alternative to “click here.”

We all know the more e-mails you can deliver, the better the results. By following these eight tips (and reading my e-book 34 Ways to Improve Your E-mail),  you’ll significantly increase your e-mail delivery rate. Feel free to share what you have learned that works to increase the delivery rate of your e-mails as well.

4 Easy Steps To Create An Effective E-Mail Plan


EM In BoxEveryone is talking about e-mail marketing these days. It’s inexpensive and drives conversions. Plus, it’s customizable, increases ROI, and is easily integrated with social media for maximum impact. For some, that’s all they do is talk about e-mail marketing though. That’s because they don’t know where to begin. Let me walk you through the necessary steps.

  1. Know Your Audience. Know who they are, what you want to say to them, and how you want to communicate your message. If you already have subscribers, do a little digging to see how they got to you so you can identify good sources right off the bat.
  2. Choose Your Content Carefully. Different e-mail campaigns will have different content, but each will hold true to your brand and must always include useful information presented in a professional but interesting way in the shortest number of words possible. If the content isn’t grabbing you, it will be even less effective for your audience. Really think about your audience and what it is that will speak to them. And, you don’t always have to recreate the wheel. Use content you already have that you know has been successful. Use content like blogs, articles, tweets, white papers, etc. If you can include a special offer or sneak peek (anything special and unique to them), so much the better.
  3. Determine Your Communication Frequency Goals. With your content and audience in mind, determine how frequently you want to reach out to your audience. There’s no magic number here except the one that works for you. You want to contact frequently enough so that you stay in top-of-mind awareness but not so frequently that your e-mails become a nuisance. Remember: content is king. So, if you don’t have something to say, don’t e-mail.
  4. Make A Schedule. This works nicely because it gives you a goal to work towards. Also, it helps you plan your message and timing around tradeshow events, new product launches, etc., and keeps everyone on the same page.

If you follow these four easy steps, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful e-mail plan that will deliver real results.


How to Create a Lead Nurturing Program That Works


sales-lead-generationOn Tuesday I talked about the importance lead nurturing has on your sales efforts. Today, you will learn how to create a lead nurturing program that will enable you to work your leads through the sales funnel to get quality leads to surface.

Anyone who has paid attention to their leads coming in knows that very few leads come in sales ready. Yet, only about 10 percent of companies actively use lead-nurturing strategies. So, rather than dumping most of your hard-earned leads, I suggest you nurture them through the entirety of their buying cycle, building trust and establishing a relationship that over time will eventually lead to a sale.

Keep it simple

Begin with a single nurturing campaign that you send out to all your leads. An easy way to start might be sending out a copy of your newsletter or an invitation to attend a webinar or a free white paper. You want to offer something that will engage your leads.

Segment your leads

Monitor the success of your campaign, further segmenting your leads based on their behavior toward the campaign, like did they open the e-mail or sign up for a webinar? You can also segment based on geography or lead source, whatever makes the most sense for your objectives. Once you have established where each lead is in their buying journey (based on their behavior or segmenting), you can target future nurturing campaigns to address where they are in the cycle.

Develop good content

Take an inventory of the different content resources you currently have, including blogs, articles, white papers, and videos. Think about which of your nurturing segments they work for. Some will work for several segments with minor tweaks. If you do not have a library of items to select from, consider the key pieces you need to create for each target group and what the message will need to be. It is important to note that if you have leads in different regions or countries, you will want to make the message specific to their geographic area.

Since you are communicating with your leads via e-mail, you will want to keep the content brief. Long e-mails will not be read. If you are including a video clip, keep it short too – about 90 seconds is ideal.

Score your leads

In addition to segmenting the leads, it is a good idea to score your leads as well. I provide what I call “interest scores” for all of my client’s leads to help them nurture, qualify, and prioritize their  leads.  Most marketing automation platforms offer scoring software.  However, if you don’t want to invest in the software, contact and we’ll happily set up and run your scoring program for you.

Studies have shown that businesses with well established, successful lead nurturing programs generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost (Forrester Research). So, if you don’t have an effective lead nurturing program already in place, now is the time to create one.


What You Need To Know To Close Leads Faster


lead-generation-imgWhile some may think the biggest obstacle is getting the lead, the reality is that the hardest work begins once you have the lead. What do I mean by this? Well, most of the leads you get aren’t ready to buy – yet. They’ll be ready to buy from someone within 24 months. How can you increase your chances that it’s you? Nurture your leads. This keeps you in top-of-mind awareness with the lead, building a valuable relationship through the entirety of the lead’s decision to buy journey.

Facts About Your Leads

  • Only about 27% of your leads will be qualified and ready for sales when they come to you – 73% won’t. {Source: Marketing Survey B2B Benchmark Survey}
  • When sales and marketing are aligned, working synergistically on demand generation, the amount of closes accelerates between 2 to 7 times higher than when these departments function separately.{Source: Sirius Decisions}
  • A/B testing is the most used and most consistent method to improve conversion rates for the last two years. {Source: EConsultancy}

You must learn how to plan and build a nurturing program that really works. Your plan should address the following:

  1. Outline of your lead nurturing approach
  2. A plan to refine and expand your plan
  3. A process to measure the effectiveness of your plan

The value of lead nurturing cannot be overstated. Once your leads come in, get to work nurturing the relationship and see your close rate improve. Later this week I’ll give you more specific tips that will help you create your nurturing program.