3 Reasons You Need a Landing Page Strategy to Succeed with Online Ads

Posted by Rob Cooper | Posted in Advice, Landing Pages, SEO, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Mar 20, 2013

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Working with clients of all sizes, I’m regularly asked “Why wouldn’t I just point my Google/Facebook/Linkedin ads to my product page?”

My answer is always the same: “You might succeed to a certain level, but ALL the most successful advertisers leverage landing pages, and you should, too.”

There are three main reasons landing pages are necessary to reach your full potential…

Testing and Indexing
The beauty of online advertising combined with landing pages is how easy it is to test different offers, benefits, copy, and images to maximize the response after someone clicks through on your ad. A streamlined landing page makes it a snap to launch and test multiple variations. However, this means that at any given time you might have multiple different versions of a page, most of which will eventually be deleted.

With this in mind, you want to make sure that you set these pages up so that they are not “indexed” by Google. Otherwise, this may lead to a real mess in Google search results. There may also be results which point to pages which no longer exist. Using a simple “no-index” tag (or using the no-index setting in your landing page software) makes this very easily accomplished.

Matching of Features to Visitors
A product page must address all the different facets of your offering. For instance, let’s suppose you have a cloud-based file storage program with 10 or 15 different features, such as uploading to social media accounts, online storage, file conversion, file compression, etc.

There’s typically no way you can have a single product page or section that gives prominence to all of these features.

However, working in tandem with Google Adwords, you can take your visitors to the exact feature that someone is interested in. For instance, if someone is Googling “online file conversion tools” your ad can take them to a landing page where that specific feature is the most prominent thing on the page. Likewise, if someone Googles “online file compression” you’ll take them to a landing page which focuses on exactly that!

It’s not hard to see how using this strategy will dramatically increase the likelihood that a visitor will become a buyer! Plus, there’s no limit to the number of features you can highlight for people searching matching keywords if you use a simple-to-modify landing page template.

Matching of Demographic Interests
Let’s imagine that you have a product that fulfills needs for dramatically different demographic profiles. In this case, it might be something like an affordable waterproof camera that has broad appeal.

Now, let’s see how this might work if you’re advertising the camera on Facebook. You might target (separately) college-aged students, parents with young kids, and adventurous travelers.

It goes without saying that each group will be waaay more responsive to a different experience when they arrive at your site. For instance:

    -The college-aged students might respond well to a high-energy page featuring others their age and would probably react well to some “edgy” messaging.

    -The parents with kids would likely respond well to a page showing how they might capture the memories of their kids learning to swim, at the beach, etc.

    -The adventurous travelers would likely respond better to beach, snorkeling, and diving scenes from exotic locales.

Nobody would argue that you can do a good job appealing to all those three groups on a single product page. In fact, it’s likely, in this case, that the “parents” messaging would actually repel the college-age demographic, and vice versa.

Being “different things to different people” through multiple landing pages is a task that becomes extremely straightforward when you match your demographic targeting with a meaningful landing page strategy.

With the tools now available to make landing pages easily accessible to even the smallest of companies, what’s keeping you from kicking off your own landing page strategy?

About the Author

Rob Cooper is our guest blogger for this post. He lives in Victoria, BC and has been working internationally in Web Marketing for 12 years, the last 6 running PlusROI.com.

Landing Page Best Practices: Part 2 – Lead Generation

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in Advice, Landing Pages, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Mar 07, 2013

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What are Landing Pages?

Have you ever considered using Landing Pages to generate Leads? It’s not crazy – the branding and design of a customized Page can go a long way toward building your lists. So how can you make sure that your Page is bringing in as many new contacts as possible?

Are you using an online form creator?
Getting your Landing Page to generate Leads hinges on having an easy and effective way to manage the information. A Form will allow you to ask for contact information in a way that’s easy for both the customer and you; Form Builders like the one available in Landing Page Builder automatically notify you of new contacts and allow you to add contact information to lists or send automatic opt-ins. Many platforms also offer third-party integration, so check with your Email Service Provider to see if you can import their forms!

Landing Page Form Editor

Have you assured your leads that their information will never be shared with anyone else and that they can easily unsubscribe at any time?
If you’re familiar at all with Email Marketing, then you’re aware that privacy and opt-in/out options are very tightly regulated. Stay ahead of the game by reinforcing your Leads’ confidence in their privacy with trust symbols, verbiage, and automatic opt-in options like the ones discussed earlier. If your lead feels like they can trust you with their information, they will be much more likely to purchase further down the sales funnel.

Email Follow-up

Are you asking the user to fill in more information than is absolutely required?
Surveys show that each additional required field results in a 15% decline in the completion of the form. For mobile forms the decline is 50%. Asking for your leads’ birthdays might provide some interesting insights, but it could tank your conversions. Identify the facts you absolutely need and limit your Form based on your answers. Try to think like a prospect would think and create a functional form that doesn’t make too many demands.

Bad Web Form

Do you include fields in the form that might require retyping (like requiring dashes in telephone numbers)?
Every time a prospect fails to complete a form, another barrier is added to the Sales funnel. Many Form Builders will allow you to provide examples in individual fields. Some also allow for multiple answer formats. Be sure that the form that you’re providing is clear and easy for your prospects to fill out on the first try.

Example Form

Stuck on ideas for Forms? Check out 5 Ways to Use Web Forms for some tips! And be sure to come back next week for even more Landing Page Best Practices! We’ll be covering A/B Testing and how to get the most out of your Page variations.

Landing Page Best Practices: Part 1

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in Advice, Landing Pages, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Mar 03, 2013

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What are Landing Pages?

Think that your great landing page could do even better? Follow our week-by-week tips to learn how! Sometimes, just a few small tweaks are all that a page needs to reach its full potential. When reviewing your page, ask yourself these questions:

Are you segmenting your landing pages based on your sources?
Would you click through an ad that didn’t make sense to you? Of course not. But a comprehensive page goes beyond just good writing and an intuitive design; it also needs to be relevant. Leads coming from a Pay-Per-Click Ad like Google AdWords are probably looking for an in-depth product breakdown and/or a good price. Current customers/verified leads, on the other hand, already know at least something about your product and will be looking for short updates and special offers. Always consider who you’re directing to your page and what’s on it, and you’ll be able to hold a tighter grasp on the market and boost conversions without having to increase your distribution.

Leads

Have you made it easy for your visitor to say “Yes!”?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. An effective landing page must convey, often at a glance, exactly why yours should be the product to buy. How do you make sure of that? By having a plan and making your Page clear and direct.

Say Yes Landing Pages

Have you used a compelling headline and action-oriented benefits?
People don’t respond to bland. Be sure to take the time and write a headline that draws attention and gets the customer excited about your product. Positive action words like “Imagine”, “Create”, and “Inspire” will invigorate your customers and subtly bring them to an “action-ready” state.

Headline

Is your actionable item above the fold?
Your Landing Page wants to give your customers a clear course of action. Let it! Explanation of a product or deal may be necessary, but your Landing Page is not the place! Keep your headlines and subheadings short and let your actionable item stand out.

Above the Fold

Have you conveyed trust and security?
There are so many reasons to distrust a page: losing privacy, the fear of getting scammed, a lack of information; it’s easy to see why people can be hesitant. So what can you do to make sure that your visitors feel safe? A good layout conveys work ethic and strong motivation, but that’s only the first step. Your page will also need excellent copy, guarantees, and, if possible, video and text testimonials from satisfied customers.

Testimonials

Another important element for conveying security is trust symbols. These could be anything from seals of approval from reliable sites to awards won or partners collaborated with. By providing these symbols, you’re showing the customer that you are a trusted partner and an honest business.

Trust Symbols

Note: VERIFY YOUR TRUST PARTNERS. It’s great that Example.com loved your product, but if your link to their site doesn’t reflect that information directly, your trust symbol is suspect. Our advice? Dedicate either a part of your homepage or a special landing page to partners and testimonials. The extra layer of information will satisfy most people’s curiosity.

Join us next week for more Landing Page Best Practices! We’ll be focusing on Web Forms and how to turn your Landing Page into an automatic lead generator!

Getting the Most out of Your Facebook Advertisements

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in Advice, Facebook, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Jan 25, 2013

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Facebook Ads

A lot of us use Facebook Advertisements. It makes sense: they’re targeted, cheap, and easy to manage. So how do we make sure we’re getting our money’s worth?

First, we need to make sure our Page looks good. We’ve written a lot about this in the past, so if you need the details you can check out Covers and Apps here. The most important thing is cohesion. If your Page looks like a mismatched quilt of random images, you’re going to have a bad time. Pick a color, style, and theme and stick to it as much as possible (even when posting). An attractive Page will let customers know that you mean business and help them to trust you as a brand.

Once you’ve got your Page looking right, it’s time to give it body. Regular updates are the norm, of course, but a real Facebook presence requires more. Apps, whether custom or imported, give your Page functionality and let the customer see that you can work beyond the superficial to give your projects substance. Try running contests or other engaging functions. Again, this will help you to impress visitors and gain their trust.

Apps

The last step in maximizing your Facebook Ads is to make sure that your Page is populated with engaging, quality content. Since I can’t help by pretending to know what business you’re in or what products you sell, I’ll have to leave that last part up to you. Give people enough reasons to like and trust you, and it will be hard for them not to.

How to Schedule a Facebook Post

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in Facebook, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Sep 11, 2012

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Scheduling a Post

Any post that you make can be scheduled for a specific time in the future; a full list of scheduled posts can be accessed and edited through the Activity Log.

For more Facebook tips, be sure to check out How to Make a Great Custom Cover Photo or learn more about the state of Social Networking with 4 Social Media Statistics that Should Bother You.

Facebook Contests: Rules and Regulations

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in Advice, Facebook, Social Media, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Jun 21, 2012

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Contest Like

So, you want to hold a contest on your Facebook Page. The first thing you should know is that Facebook, Inc. takes this all very seriously. That being said, there’s a lot of fun to be had holding contests online, and both your customers and Facebook will appreciate it when it’s done right.

Rule #1: Use Apps!

Relying on Posts from your fans for a contest can be a cumbersome and incredibly confusing process. Luckily, Facebook requires all promotions to be run through third-party Applications. Using Custom Web Forms like the ones found in Social Page Builder, you can easily create unique Applications for your contest and include everything from email subscription options to downloads and image submissions. With proper documentation, these features can even be used to create exclusive content for your other fans! Most importantly, email address submissions can be used to notify contest winners, as simply posting it might not reach enough people for the winners to be seen.

Rule #2: Be Independent

Due to the complete lack of verification required to set up a Page and begin a contest, Facebook mandates all contest holders to explicitly state that Facebook does not endorse their promotion. Additionally, all participants must acknowledge and release Facebook of responsibility for the promotion. This is all about liability; like any business, Facebook must protect themselves from those who would use their product in an unsavory or illegal way. As long as you’re legitimate, include the appropriate fine print, and make it clear that Facebook isn’t directly involved, your contest should be able to stand on its own.

Rule #3: Be Generous

It’s fine to ask a contest participant to Like your Page; it spreads awareness and helps you to keep track of submissions. What’s not cool is requiring your participants to Comment on your Timeline and Share your Posts; it’s a sleazy way to boost traffic and Facebook will slam you for it. If you’re providing a quality service and maintaining an honest Facebook presence, the Likes and Shares will come.

All Applications shown above were created using Social Page Builder, the App creation tool from High Impact Designer. To learn more about contests and how to regulate them, you can visit Facebook’s Official Terms of Service. For more on Web Forms and other tools, read 5 Ways to Use Web Forms or many of the other posts in the Tips and Tricks section of this blog.

3 Easy Methods for Improving Deliverability

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in Advice, email, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Jun 14, 2012

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Mailbox

As fads come and go and Social Media changes around us, Email Marketing continues to be the single most effective way to grow a business online. So how can we improve it? By taking simple steps that will get our emails seen, opened, and followed by more people, more often, with better results.

Send Early

While you may hear some half-hearted arguments to the contrary, emails should be sent early in the morning, 6am-8am local time. This ensures that they will be one of the first things seen when your readers are opening their inboxes (around 9am).

Sunrise

Use Creative Calls to Action

The Subject Line is your one and only chance to grab your customers’ attentions and draw them into reading the rest of your message. You need to treat it like the unique opportunity it is and entice your readers to action. Words like “Buy” and “Check Out” are too direct and often get flagged in SPAM filters. For better results, use positive, engaging words like “Enhance” “Imagine” or “Grow” in short, attention grabbing quips. Remember, sometimes less is more.

Models

K.I.S.S.

This is actually a two-pronged approach brought about by the growing dichotomy of email buyer/supplier preferences: In general, people don’t like to read or do anything that makes buying your product harder for them. The most effective way to get around this is to make your emails very image-centric and focus your messages to tight, easy-to-process blurbs and Calls to Action. Unfortunately, most email clients pre-screen incoming emails on an image-to-text ratio and automatically flag messages that rely too heavily on pictures. Despite how annoying this is for marketers, we can generally agree that it’s good that spammers can’t send us images.

NOOOOOOOOOO

The trick to beating the ratio test while still appealing to your audience’s tastes lies in your emails’ formatting. If you’re using a template service, make sure that the designs are tested for deliverability before you select them. If you can’t confirm that, just try and pick a design that takes maximum advantage of the space available and can be customized to fit your needs (and remember, HTML elements like background colors aren’t counted as images). Once you’ve selected a design, you’ll be able to move onto content.

Always begin your written emails with a short pitch; get right to the point and make it clear why the reader is receiving this particular message. Once that’s done, present a Call to Action. This is most effectively done with buttons or images directing readers to other content like web pages or downloads. Make sure that you use Render Checking to ensure that your Call to Action is visible without scrolling down through the email. All additional information (resources, contact info, etc.) can be included at the end of your message.

Above everything else, stay focused. A poorly targeted campaign can fail just as hard as a poorly designed one. Follow these steps, make good emails, and send to the right people and you will do fine.

Looking for more Email wisdom? Try 7 Habits of Highly Effective Email Campaigns or go deeper down the rabbit hole with Why is Email Still #1? Also, be sure to Like Us on Facebook and Follow on Twitter for more Email Marketing tips and tricks!

5 Ways to Use Web Forms

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in email, Facebook, Networking, Opinion, Small Business, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Jun 07, 2012

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Forms

Web Forms are a dynamic and engaging way to involve your customers in your marketing process. Form functions can be used to fortify your campaigns in a variety of ways that work to combine certain efforts and expand on others. This post will list a few of the methods that marketers have utilized over the years and provide a detailed description of how to create similar setups. To help illustrate my points, I’ll be using a Form builder available through Social Page Builder.

5. Surveys

One of the most basic functions of Web Forms, online surveys allow you to get direct feedback from your customers without invading their privacy or inciting a negative response. For best results, try asking your audience what they like in similar products or services.

Most Form builders include a generic set of tools. Once you have loaded your builder, look for a set of applications labeled “Survey”:

Survey Tools

From here, you’ll be able to set various questions and responses using tools like sliders, boxes, and tallies:

Survey Tools 2

4. Quizzes

Want to keep your audience interested in your brand? A good quiz can get your customers engaged in your website or Facebook Page. Whether you want to focus on your products or branch out is up to you, but, above all, BE ENTERTAINING. Nothing will turn your customers away faster than a lame quiz. (For some great examples, check out these quizzes by The Oatmeal)

Quizzes can be creating using generic Form boxes (fill-in-the-blank) or dropdown menus and check boxes (multiple choice):

Quizzes

To set up email notifications for quiz completion, go to “Setup and Embed” in your main menu and follow the email alerts instructions. Most Form builder programs have this kind of functionality:

Email Notifications

3. Email List Building

The most commonly used of the Web form functions, Email List Building is critical to any online marketing campaign and huge part of integrating your email marketing with other electronic efforts. Forms used on Web Pages or Facebook Tabs can help you fortify your lists with dedicated and interested leads at virtually no cost to you.

Email Forms are simple to set up; most Form builders have a default email option that can be selected from a series of standard operations:

Email

*Email addresses can be exported in notification emails (example above) to the address of your choice. Automatic list integration varies between Email Service Providers. For specific upload protocols, please consult your current Email Service Provider.

2. Remote Login

Want to give your customers easier access to their accounts? Just like any regular login page, Web Forms can be programmed to accept login information and remotely connect your customers to your product. This is great for eliminating extra steps in the login process and giving users more options when using your services.

To set up a remote login, search your advanced options for Username and Password fields. If neither are available directly, they can usually be fashioned through the individual boxes’ “Properties” sections:

Passwords

1. Contests

One of the best uses of Web Forms is coordinating and supplementing contests. Not only can Forms be used to integrate all of the functions above into one campaign structure, unique notification tools allow you to take those results and develop a legitimate, secure method for contest verification.

In addition to the standard options described above, Social Page Builder’s Form Builder also integrates an upload function which can be used to drive a submissions-based contest. Such submissions could then later be used to promote your brand (depending on contest terms):

Upload

Once you’ve set up your content, you can secure your Contest by creating strict parameters on multiple submissions (under “Preferences”) or inserting a Captcha (Under “Tools”):

Strict Submissions

Captcha

Lastly…

Make sure to include a “Submit” function with every Form you create. Most builders won’t let you publish a form without one, but it’s a critical last step:

Submit

Like this post? Then check out some of our other How-Tos: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Email Campaigns and How to Make a Great Custom Cover Photo. to get more updates like this one, be sure to Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter.

What “Super Troopers” can Teach you about Marketing on Facebook

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in Facebook, Social Media, Tips and Tricks | Posted on May 30, 2012

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Super Troopers

For those of you who haven’t seen this gem of late-90s indie comedy, I highly recommend it. The casting, acting, and writing are all spot on and, while it’s crude, it’s funny and relatable in a very organic and enjoyable way. I won’t waste everyone’s time by describing the whole plot here, that’s what Wikipedia’s for; you’ll pick it up as we go.

#1 Have Fun

Despite all the jokes and games that go on between the State Troopers in Spurbury, Vermont, the audience is always given the impression that they are actually good cops; they know procedure, they know the law, and they have a genuine interest in helping their community. Their pranks and other shenanigans are their way of coping with what is, in reality, a very stressful and demanding job.

Justified

Yes, your Facebook Marketing is a task, and when it comes down to crunch time, you’ll be held accountable the same way you would be for any other assignment. However, keeping your nose to the grindstone and producing genuine, enjoyable material are not always one and the same. You should have a goal and be aware of your Insights data, but going about your Facebook Marketing with a stiff and uninspired attitude will quickly be reflected in your content and your results. Enjoy what you do, and the business will follow.

#2 Research

What do the officers of Highway 117 do when they get a lead on their drug bust? They follow up on it from multiple angles, dissecting the situation to learn as much as they can, as quickly as they can.

Your goal should be the same. For every action that you take on Facebook, you can use their Insights tool to help determine the impact and how it affected your business. A large Paid Reach is good, but the big bucks come from the people who you can influence directly through Tabs and Posts. Instant Insights, released earlier this week, will allow you to track individual posts directly, and Tab traffic can be monitored through Google Analytics or similar programs when you use the right tools.

The most important thing is to determine what works and establish a pattern. Once you can do that, your Facebook presence will develop much more naturally. Until then, practice makes perfect.

#3 Plan Around a Budget

Throughout Super Troopers, the main characters are plagued by financial cutbacks and budgeting decisions that limit their ability to keep the peace. They have to keep inventories, pull shifts, and bargain with politicians just to keep their jobs. Basically, they’re one screw-up away from Paul Blart.

Paul Blart

While you may not be strapped for cash, it’s important to know where your time and money are going in social media. Once you’ve done your research, set a schedule and a budget and try to stick to them. You’d be surprised how far a little planning can go.

#4 Don’t be a Farva

Why did everyone hate Farva? Because he was a selfish d*ck. He didn’t care about his coworkers and he took everything WAY too personally.

Farva

When you’re creating content for your Facebook Page, you need to be aware that, while you may be in it to win it, Facebook is all about other people. Never forget that everything you do should be for the benefit of the customer, even if it’s as simple as keeping them entertained. Make your fans feel appreciated and they’ll move mountains to buy from you.

Like this Post? Check out 6 Social Media Networks as Rock Bands or, for the more refined, 4 Social Media Statistics That Should Bother You. Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter for more updates.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Email Campaigns

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in email, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Apr 24, 2012

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Effective Email Marketing

Respect your Audience
The people that you’re emailing are not idiots. More than anything else, they’re aware of how you’re talking to them, and going about it the wrong way can do a number on your lists. Don’t mislead people or insult their intelligence. If you have respect for your audience, then you have the foundation for a successful emarketing program.

Have a Goal
Before you start sending emails, make sure you have a plan for your campaign. Be as specific as possible: Set some figure you’d like to hit or an open rate you’d like to achieve. Nothing motivates like a deadline.

Keep a Schedule
Plan all of your emails in advance. Chart them out or set up reminders for yourself to send at a certain time. Having a schedule will help you to stay focused and give your marketing structure.

Provide Incentive
Ideally, an email should benefit your audience as well as yourself. Give your readers an action to complete and offer them a reward for doing so. Including exclusive content or deals with your messages will ingratiate your audience and make you look better in the process.

Master your Content
Know your product and, more importantly, know what people are looking for in your brand. Anticipate questions or concerns that people may have and address them in your messages. Surveys are great for this. Stay current, be flexible, and use Spell Check. If people can feel confident in your expertise, they will feel confident buying from you.

It’s not the Size that Matters
Sending large mailers is important. It keeps customers updated and spreads awareness of your business. However, emails sent to big lists are only as good as the lists themselves. Be sure that you’re pulling your lists from reliable sources and that the people being mailed are generally interested in what you’re sending them. Also, make an effort to keep up with current email marketing standards; you never know when they’re going to change.

Once you’ve made sure that your list is good, you’ll want to double check that your emails are relevant. Sending messages to people who don’t want them is never a real marketer’s goal, so specialize your content and ensure that it’s going to the right audience.

Build Relationships
Email Service Providers like Infusionsoft now offer a wide variety of tools to help identify opens, conversions, and all sorts of other statistics on the success of your various campaigns. Take advantage of that information to tailor your emails to certain trends or, better yet, start entirely new campaigns for the groups you get responses from (Note: Don’t let people know that you know their email reading habits – it’s unsettling). Above all, pay close attention to your campaigns and always be looking for ways to improve your customer relationships.