Category Archives: Lead Generation

Nicola Peaty

Top tips on how to raise your search engine ranking.

By Nicola Peaty

search_engine_rankingWhere would we all be without Google these days?! As such a major force in our digital world, we have to play according to the big search engine ways in order for our online presence to be found by our target markets. Below are our top tips on how to help raise your website’s search engine ranking.

 

Start with your research: In order to really know how to attract your target visitors to your website, you need to know what search terms they are using when looking online for products or services which match those relevant to yours. You would waste a lot of time guessing or assuming certain terms and then finding you attract the wrong type of audience who immediately bounce back when they realise your site is not what they’re looking for. Wordtracker and Google Adwords are useful tools that will help you discover the exact words and phrases your potential customers are inputting to search engines. This kind of insight gives you real intelligence into how your market is searching and consuming relevant information to your company, so use it wisely and keep checking and updating accordingly.

Specify your search terms: Based on the keyword research, you will have a list of words, terms and phrases to form the basis of your SEO strategy. Make sure you use these keywords to match your company, products/services, but also where possible, specify the terms by using additional words to attract the absolute target audience. By this, we mean adding locality, product details and company information, so that a. your audience can see upfront exactly what they will view on your site and whether it matches their needs and b. you will avoid generic terms used by the big gun sites who will most probably rank higher and have paid for these terms through PPC.

Keyword your metadata: Use the list of keywords found by your research within the metadata on your website. The title metadata shows the page titles you can see in the web browser. The description metadata is your chance to give a succinct marketing push about the content visitors can find on that particular page. The keyword metadata is where you can use the research list of terms. It will also mean these pages appear by matching the terms searched by your prospective visitors and stand out with their relevant details compared to competing generic sites. Just don’t cram the titles full of keywords as this could well have the reverse effect and be completely ignored, so key the words concise but relevant.

meta-description-tag

Quality not quantity: Content is king as we all know in the online marketing space. Spiders love new and relevant content so keep updating and refreshing the information on your site. Use the keyword research on a regular basis to keep terms applicable and reflect in your content. Blogs are an obvious way of updating content and using social media to push this content out will hopefully then drive traffic back to your site. This increases the relevance and authority of your site. Monitor your content and know which is working and attracting the most views and comments, which can help you plan future content.

Online PR: Another way to get your content viewed and in turn raise your ranking, is to write and push out quality press releases. Again the word quality is used here, as the release has to be topical, insightful, have that grabbing ‘hook’ in order for journalists, other sites and viewers alike, to want to pick it up, link to it and view it. Value in your information will in turn give you value for your website and search engine ranking.

Links: Both inbound and outbound links play an important part on the authority and trust of your website, but again we have the quality not quantity rule to apply. Making sure you have fewer links that are all totally relevant and especially from other authority sites, is far more valuable to your ranking than hundreds of non-related small sites. It’s obviously easier to control outbound links from your site, but you can track inbound links from a range of programs such as SEOmoz and Google Analytics. This will give you an insight into who is coming to your site and where they are coming from. Another useful tip is to use specific and descriptive link tags which explains what content is to be found within the link, instead of generic terms like ‘click here’, which has no search engine value beyond the attached URL. If possible, you could contact these sites and ask them to do the same to help push relevant traffic your way.

Alt tags: Finally, once you’ve managed to drive visitors to your site, you want to keep them on there as long as possible. Therefore, use a variety of multimedia to keep their interest such as images, videos and infographics. Just make sure you don’t miss an opportunity by describing your media with alt tags (alternative text description). These can then be found by search engines and add a unique source of relevance to your audience. Below is a great example of how to post and tag images in an ongoing cycle which helps increase your links, add authority from other sites and keep your visitors engaged.

alt tag example

 

Nicola Peaty

How to create a successful landing page.

By Nicola Peaty

Landing pages have become a great tool for marketers, created for specific marketing objectives. The two main purposes for landing pages are 1. a funnel path to convert leads and 2. data collection within a lead generation campaign. Both require simple but effective pages in order to achieve the desired results. Below are some tips and examples of how to create successful landing pages:

* Eye-catching headine. As with all things online, you don’t have much time to grab visitors’ attention, so make sure your headline communicates exactly what you are offering. Whether it be a promotion for a new product line or the heading for a particular article, be bold and be clear.

GROUPON is simplicity at its best. They’ve used a striking block colour, with a bright contrasting image. The data capture shows how simple it has to be in order to collect basic details.

groupon-2

MAILCHIMP is a great example of a clear heading, catchy image and an obvious call to action.

MailChimp-Landing-Page-1024x760

 

*Keep the message clear. Visitors landing on the page should be able to quickly determine the value of your proposition. The main point is to give them compelling and succinct information which encourages them to click through or give their details. Use bullet points to list the main benefits so that it’s quick and easy for a visitor to scan and deduce why they should move closer to a consumer decision.

NETFLIX landing page shows how to communicate a lot of information is a neat and easy format. The visitor can see exactly how the process works with the short one word headings across the bottom together with brief copy with an exemplary image. The family photo, FREE TRIAL circle and simple data capture form pulls it altogether nicely, encouraging visitors to sign up.

netflix-landing
GIFTCARD is a beautifully branded and effective page. Four bullet points is all it takes to explain how it works and with an obvious, but not in your face, button to send a gift card.

gift card examples-of-great-landing-pages

 

* Funnel where you want them to go. This means avoiding too many links on one landing page, with different messages which could confuse and lose visitors. If you keep it simple then one or two effective ‘sign ups’ or ‘click heres’ should work and funnel the visitors exactly where you want them.

UK Digital Cameras landing page has quite a lot of content and yet it is still easy to understand there are two options which would funnel visitors according to their specific needs. You can either get a quote for an old camera or buy a new camera with an offer on a particular model.

UKDigitalCameras1

 

* Incentivise well. Competitions and prizes are great for landing pages. Make sure the offer is simple, clear and enticing. Know your market and create the design and impact accordingly. Using Facebook as your funnel through page can also build your social media audience.

The International Make-up Academy landing page is perfectly designed and branded for its target market with one striking image. ‘Enter’ and ‘Like’ are the two calls to action and the 500 voucher is stated clearly in the succinct copy.

FB comp-landing-pages-tima

 

* Be creative. This is your chance to hit your market with something compelling that engages them and convinces them to take the next step along their visitor journey. Knowing your audience will allow you to decide the appropriate tone and impact of your design and message.

Coca Cola created a page to attract youth apprentices. They added the bonus of a $5000 incentive for nominations. But they didn’t stop there. Possibly as this was targeted at a young market, they included a video of the ‘most outrageous way to share a coke’. I doubt many visitors resisted the urge to click and view and just have a bit of fun.

Cola landing pageimage

In summary, landing pages can be effective, without being complicated. Keep the message and design clear and simple and you will enhance the chances of achieving your required results. Know exactly what your objective is, your target market and match your proposition with creativity and purpose. Not forgetting to capture and funnel leads by simple calls to action.



How to grow your business with social media



Nicola Peaty

Pay Per Click Explained.

By Nicola Peaty

Between the importance of having a website and the power of Google, most marketers will be focused on driving traffic from the search engine to their online business. This can be done organically with search engine optimisation (SEO) via specific web content and/or with paid search marketing. This blog explains the basics of Pay per click and some tips to help especially for smaller companies.

Pay per click (PPC) is also known as Search engine marketing (SEM). This is when a company pays for specific search terms and keywords that people may enter into a search engine when looking for a related product or service to their company. The results of typing in a search term into Google, or other search engines, will produce a results page called a search engine results page (SERP). PPC results will appear at the top or right hand side of the page with ‘Ads’ next to them. The company then pays each time a user actually clicks on the link to their website for that particular search term.
See below an example for the term wedding cakes. You can see that Waitrose and Marks and Spencer have paid most for this search term as they appear at the top.

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‘Wedding cakes’ would be a premium search term and most small to medium companies would not be able to compete and afford this as a PPC option. Therefore, smaller companies can be smarter about the terms they either pay for or include those terms on their website for an organic listing. You need to be as specific as possible to match the needs of the users looking for your particular business products.
See the below example. If the search term is refined to ‘small wedding cakes in London’ then companies who have matching content on their site will appear higher in the SERP such as 1st Choice Cakes. Companies who have paid for ‘similar’ terms will appear lower down, so Marks and Spencer have dropped to the bottom of the page and The Cake Store appears higher as a PPC listing.

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The Google ‘bots’ crawl sites to find the most suitable results to match the user’s search. So it’s worth taking the time to understand what terms people are using to look for your related products. It is then your choice, depending on your marketing need, whether you go down the PPC route or spend time generating relevant organic content on your website.

There are a number of advantages for PPC. Firstly, if, like the Marks and Spencer targeting wedding cakes, a company wants to raise brand awareness in a market, then PPC is a less expensive form of advertising. You have the advantage of capping your budget by only paying for an agreed budget limit on how many people click your Google Ad words. And as shown above, you can use specific terms to align with your target market.

It is also very straight forward and simple to set up once you’ve chosen your ad words, and then update as and when you need to. SEO obviously requires rewriting content on your site should new words and terms become necessary. This can take time, whereas Google ad words are immediately effective from the moment you set them up. This can be of real benefit if you have a timely event or promotion and need to quickly target your audience. Just ensure that your links drive traffic to the relevant landing page or you will lose paid-for users straight away.

You are totally in control of your PPC and can react and change as you feel necessary. This means trying and testing new campaigns and monitoring which works best. Having access to immediate results in terms of click through rates will allow you to track the performance of campaigns and assess ROI. The emphasis here is to stay on top of your PPC and keep a check on the SERP and whether any competition affects your listing as well as if users are finding and clicking on your campaign links. You may have to ‘up’ your bid slightly to guarantee top listing against a competitor or change your ad words if the market are using a new search term.

Finally, if done well, make sure you have conversion points in place when users reach the required landing page. This can be an online form, enquiry email link or for a sales rep to contact them. Any form of lead generation requires this essential part of the marketing ‘funnel’ and gives you the full picture to track you ROI.

 

Nicola Peaty

Top Tips for Successful Direct Mail

By Nicola Peaty

Think direct mail is dead? Well, think again. Yes, we have swung right over to digital marketing, but do not be misled in thinking that the DM channel no longer exists. Time for an Infographic to prove some results:

Direct-Mail-Statistics-2014-Ver2-WEB
Note the quotes at the bottom showing the benefits of direct mail: people are more likely to remember a message, direct mail is easier to take in than email and that it is a channel that shows value to customers.

So here are some tips to consider when planning and executing your direct mail to make it an effective channel in your marketing mix.

Quality data: No junk mail please! Just sending out a ton of leaflets to all and sundry and hoping that someone will respond, will not produce the best ROI. Using a carefully selected list of contacts to receive your proposed mail piece will give you the best chance of response. The best data is your own built up list from respondents who have previously interacted with your company together with intelligence details which allow precision targeting. If you have to purchase your list, it is worth being as ‘picky’ as you possibly can, to choose the criteria to meet your requirements.

Personalisation: As with most marketing now, customers want to feel like you are talking directly and specifically to them. So take the opportunity to include their name and tailor the message to meet their details. We all recognise blanket letters that have generic content which mostly end up in the bin. Be different and make yours stand out, it will always be worth the effort to get the respondent to engage with your message.

Creative: This leads nicely on to ensuring that the creativity also gives the right impact. The chosen font and colours should reflect the brand and tone of the message, but also be relevant to your target audience. That means considering the demographics (eg old or young, female or male) and whether it is consumer or B2B (eg beauty salons or financial services). The execution can be in many formats, be they brochures, letters or postcards. Just take time thinking through what will catch their attention and resonate most. Also, consider what the competition are doing and try to be original, but still relevant, to get the best response.

CTA: So you’ve reached the right customers, tailored the message and creative so that they’ve opened and read your mail piece. Now what do you want them to do? By including a call to action you will hopefully generate a response that you can monitor and drive the customer to the next stage of the purchasing funnel. Incentives like registering online to enter a competition or using a promotional code for a discount will allow you to track response but also give you the opportunity to engage with that customer.

Follow up: And engaging with your customer is what it’s all about. So once they have responded don’t leave them hanging. Follow up with your next point of marketing contact, whether that be by email, telephone or another direct mail piece. Keep the conversation going, move the customer relationship forward and build on what you have started. Just ensure to collate all customer details and actions on your database to build a useful profile.

Integration: One marketing channel is good, but it’s always more effective if a message is supported as part of a bigger campaign. So consider targeting the same audience with the same message via other means such as advertising, social media and email. It is vital to track each channel, and remember to use different channel promotional codes, to assess the overall campaign. Advertising could build awareness, while email notifies the customer to look out for the direct mail and social media could encourage discussion or get customers to post as part of the call to action.

Check, check, check: Never let any marketing go out before it has been through thorough checking, but especially a mail piece. With all the time and effort that has been spent on planning and execution, it would be a complete waste if there was a typo or the wrong details. Customers would lose respect and may disregard the message as a result. So ensure all branding, content and customer details have been verified and approved before anything is sent out.

For further tips and advice on direct mail marketing go to: http://www.dma.org.uk/

 

Nicola Peaty

How to generate leads for your business.

By Nicola Peaty

lead genGenerating leads for your business is the fundamental criteria for success or failure. However, it is all about quality leads not just quantity. There is much more sophistication in the art of the various lead processes in terms of generation, nurturing, demand, qualification and conversion. Marketers have to combine strategic planning with tactical execution and focus on progressing new prospects to delivering sales-ready leads. So before marketers get stuck into the array of lead generation possibilities, you must have the following in place: 1. agreed company objectives including target markets and measures; 2. the appropriate systems eg prospect database, CRM, marketing automation; 3. cohesive teams with the same aims and understanding especially sales and marketing; 4. plans to progress leads down the marketing funnel and towards sales conversion; Next it’s down to the marketing team to plan the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ in terms of targeting, promotions, messages and execution. Below is our top list of recommended ways to source new leads. These are by no means exhaustive and each must be considered as to their relevance and value in accordance with the set objectives and type of market. referralsReferrals: Even a young company will have some kind of customer or associate relations which they can utilise to leverage potential new leads. Tap into existing contacts who you can trust and who will positively promote your business in order to open a few new doors. Linked In is a great B2B network for quality professionals who can help you ‘connect’ with potential new customers. For more established companies, hopefully with some solid customer relations, ask them to give their testimonials and refer possible contacts who they believe could benefit from your services. Peer reviews go a long way to adding credibility and reassurance for prospective customers. Choose your advocate clients who you know can champion your company and products and would be willing to make the effort to refer you to others. Reward schemes can help incentivise customers to ‘refer a friend’, but monitor and assess the quality of the lead referred to ensure they are relevant and not just a way of accessing the reward on offer! Alliance partnerships: Similar to referrals in a way, by joining up with business partners who compliment and don’t compete, you can generate leads both ways to help each other. It does depend on mutual trust and willing, but it makes sense that both parties can benefit if the customer is relevant to both companies. For example, in the wedding industry, bridal wear shops can refer to florists and cake makers without competing, in the agreement, that they will refer them as well. Events: These are the opportunities to bring your company to life and give a face to the brand. Not everyone enjoys events, so it’s important to select the right person to represent the company in the best way and to achieve the desired result. Networking groups help both new and established companies, whether you are just starting to promote yourself or targeting specific types of contacts. (See our blog on Top Tips for Successful Networking). Not everyone enjoys Tradeshows can be hit or miss and it’s all about the preparation and execution. Ensure the right type of prospects will be attending so that it’s not a complete waste of time and effort. Exhibition stands are only successful if they have skilled people manning the stand who know how to attract visitors among all the other stands fighting for their attention. Once a visitor has engaged, it’s all about having the right message and promotion. speechA great way to convey your brand as a voice of authority and as an industry expert is to give a specialist talk either at a trade seminar or by creating your own session. Choosing a topic that will advise or give insightful detail and opinion will hopefully generate new interest and therefore potential new customers. Whatever your approach to events, make sure you have contact capture forms ready and follow up post event with email, call or meetings as agreed. Search traffic: How often do we all go straight to Google when first looking for a product or service? Whether it is searching locally for a company or fact finding for specific details, the search engine is the major source of potential online prospects at the very beginning of the ‘lead funnel’ for marketers. You have a choice of SEO, SEM and PPC, but in order for you to attract quality traffic, it is essential to use specific keywords and terms that will match what your prospects are using when searching for your type of product. Avoid generic terms that will only cost you more, compete with the big players and not necessarily deliver qualified leads. Include details that will help produce the best result and match for the prospect in search, for example product specifications and location of company. Ensure you have the matching content ready and in place on your website including tailored landing pages. Visitors want to be able to click on a link that takes them directly to the information they are searching for (and not the homepage), otherwise you will lose them very quickly. Content: Great content can be used in many ways to attract new leads. By writing and/or speaking about topics which leads are interested in and searching for, you can become the source for fact, opinion, advice and the latest developments for your market. As long as the content is relevant, of value and targeting the specific type of leads, your content marketing plan can be very powerful as a lead generator. (See our blog on How to write content for your audience.) Social Media: Integrating your social media messages and promotions with great content can help drive traffic to your site and generate new leads. Getting likes, shares and +1s will build your audience organically. Remember to be creative and use visuals and videos as well to stand out, attract attention and even go viral. (see our blogs on Google +,  Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and video.) Use social media as a way to monitor discussions and get involved with your expert input, so that you can build your profile and raise awareness. You can then attract new followers and start customer interaction to nurture new leads. This takes time and effort so use a dedicated resource to keep track of any leads generated and how to progress them further down the ‘marketing funnel’. Contact details: This includes both yours and your leads. First make sure that you have company contact details at all lead touch points, so that they are able to get in touch should they have any initial fact finding questions or enquiries. Include as many ways for the prospect to make contact eg email, tel, online form, and ensure you respond in time with at least an acknowledgment or with the full details to their query. Make sure you also have data capture points for all new leads, whether that be online, face to face at an event or with a telephone enquiry. Start with the minimal basics and grow the details as you have more interaction. Offer incentives for leads to give more details eg to download information or for certain promotions. The idea is to build profiles and intelligence about your leads in order for targeted marketing. Automated email marketing is a good way to filter leads and build intelligence by a sequence of emails which contain specific information. Different emails are triggered according to how leads respond to each email and thereby tailoring content to their needs. It is essential to keep all captured contact data up-to-date so that you are able to manage your marketing effectively and segment the leads according to their specific needs and requirements. Once you’ve done the hard work in generating a new lead, you can then progress the lead according to your nurture and conversion plans.

lead gen funnel How to grow your business with social media

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