Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers Blog

    Optimize Your Landing Pages and Homepage For Action

    Topics: Close Strategy Design More Inbound Marketing

    Content Is The Most Important Phase Of A Website Redesign

    Your company just signed a contract with an Inbound Marketing company to redesign your website give your web marketing efforts an overhaul. You've been looking at competitors' websites and the sites of companies that you respect and admire. Then the design phase of your project starts. Just what you've been waiting for! You're so excited to get a new, modern look to your website. You're sick of the current, dated aesthetic.

    When the new design comps through for review, you pour over them critiquing every pixel. IT MUST LOOK PERFECT! Finally, the design is approved and the project moves on to the next phase, content. Guess what happens... you lose interest. Without fail! This happens in nearly 100% of small businesses.

    The content phase just doesn't feel as sexy as the design phase. I get it. I do. The problem is, the content is the more important of the 2 phases.

    Don't Get Me Wrong, Design Is Important

    The look and feel of your website is very important in building trust with your visitors. It's also really important from an ease of use standpoint. Good design makes finding what you're after extremely easy. Good design shows that you care about what potential clients see when they look for you. Ultimately, TRUST is the the biggest factor with design in Inbound Marketing. You can't expect strangers to stick around long if your site's design doesn't build trust and deliver the content your visitor is looking for.

    Content Is What Get's Eyes On Your Design

    However... CONTENT is what actually gets visitors to your website. Then they stick around if the design is trustworthy and the content matches what they are looking for. The effort that goes into the design phase of your website should be monumentally surpassed by the effort that goes into the content creation portion of your website redesign. I know the design phase is the sexy part, but if you care at all about generating high quality traffic that converts into high quality leads, you need a more concerted effort on content than you do the design.

    Why is that? For starters, prospects don't Google for the vendor in your industry with the best website design. They Google for a solution to their problem. If your competitor's site answers that more effectively but looks a little less attractive than yours, the visitor won't know. All they will know is that they found a solution to their problem, the competitor's site was acceptable in design and now they are on the path to become the competitor's customer, not yours.

    The bottom line is, no one will see your beautifully designed website if you don't build out the content appropriately. Again, I recommend shifting the bulk of your energy from the design phase to the content phase if you are truly trying to attract visitors to your website that ultimately convert to leads and customers. At the end of the day, that's the goal for the vast majority of small businesses online.

    Topics: Close SEO Design More Attract Inbound Marketing

    Does Your Website's Design Build Trust?

    Inbound Marketing is all about getting the right people to your website when they are looking for your offering, establishing trust to convert those visitors into leads, nurturing those leads into closed sales, and continuing to add value to your clients' lives after the sale. If you recall, the other day I wrote about using content to educate your website visitors to build trust and ultimately generate high quality leads. Keeping with the same theme of building trust with your high quality website traffic, it's important to examine the role of website design in your inbound marketing efforts.

    Have you ever met someone and had immediate feelings about your level of trust for them? How about in business? How about the last time you went to buy a new vehicle? Yeah, thought so. It's a crumby feeling. You feel like you need to watch your back and everything you say. If you had a lesser of 2 evils to choose from, you'd probably leave the situation immediately. Guess what. Online, there's always a lesser of 2 evils. There's always another solution. That's why design is so important.

    Make A Good First Impression

    How many times have you done a search for something online, clicked on a search results and immediately hit back to find another search result? That's called a bounce in SEO. We do it all of the time. We might do it because we know what site we're looking for and know immediately upon arrival that we're on the wrong site. We might do it because the format of the content on the page looks like something we don't want to deal with, like tons of paragraphs of text. We might do it because we immediately thought of a better search phrase to use. Finally, we might do it because the site we land on doesn't immediately establish trust through a professional design.

    First impressions are everything online. Your website's design, that is it's look and feel, is often what impacts your visitors' decision to either stay or hit the back button. You only have a few seconds to prove you're trustworthy through your design. If you pass the test, you may have just convinced your biggest future client to start the buying process with you. If you fail, well, you can count on them finding a more trusted competitor of yours.

    What Makes A Trustworthy Design?

    At the risk of sounding unhelpful I will start by saying, you know a sketchy site when you see it. It's that gut feeling that this site isn't where I want to be. You also very clearly (though subconsciously) have an at ease feeling about sites that you are comfortable visiting. There are a few common characteristics of sites that people tend to trust.

    1 - They Balance The Available Space And Graphics/Content

    It's tempting for some marketers to use every pixel on the screen to push their message or make an offer. Unfortunately, this leads to clutter and an unprofessional design. Think the side of a race car! Covered with different stickers that all clash and have a different message. On the flip side, if you can resist the urge to over-saturate your website, you can build a ton of trust.

    White space is your friend. With the most important content above the fold and a single theme for each page, your visitors won't go cross eyed trying to find the back button!

    2 - A Logo That Fits Your Site's Design

    Has your logo survived the test of time? Does it still seem professional? Does it seem clean and modern enough? A great way to tell is to stick it in a modern website design and see if it fits in. I'm not saying you have to compromise your time-tested logo in order to accommodate a more modern design. If your logo doesn't blend well with a modern look, a good designer will be able to work around it and make the site "feel" at one with the logo.

    Often times with a site powered by Wix, Godaddy or even Wordpress, a DIYer of a small business owner will force their logo into a built-in template and it will simply look out of place. It's the equivalent of going to a fine dining restaurant and having your waiter or the hostess being dressed in pajama pants, slippers, and a torn up, oversized t-shirt. That just wouldn't match the atmosphere of a fine dining restaurant. That would also put your trust of the restaurant in serious jeopardy.

    3 - Colors That Work Together & Color Blindness

    It's not enough to have the layout, fonts and graphics right. Using a color scheme that either doesn't match or doesn't look good will kill your visitors' trust as well. Some colors work online, and others don't. Most colors can be worked into a site's design tastefully, if your designer is experienced. Too much variance in color is another no-no with web design. We want to keep our visitors comfortable, not give them a headache.

    According to ColourBlindAwareness.org, there are approximately 2.7 million color blind people in the world. Your site's color scheme should be sure to speak to them. If you'd like examples of what color blind people see with different colors, the same site has a good comparison here: http://www.colourblindawareness.org/colour-blindness/colour-blindness-experience-it/

    Another great resource, VisCheck, allows you to upload a photo and see how a color blind person would see it. Try taking a screen shot of your website and uploading it!

    4 - Different Device Sizes

    Another design aspect that absolutely must be addressed is how users of smartphones and tablets see your site. As of this writing, Google believes that over 50% of the search queries they respond to will be from mobile devices by the end of 2014. Some of those searchers are looking for your business's solutions. If you've ever visited a website on your smartphone that isn't optimized for mobile, you know how frustrating that experience is.

    Responsive design ensures that your website visitors are seeing your content in the most user friendly way possible, regardless of the device they are using.

    Build Trust Through With A Professional Design

    All the high quality traffic in the world will mean nothing if they all hit the back button because your site's design doesn't build trust. Get the design right and generating leads will be much easier.

    Topics: Close Strategy Design More Inbound Marketing

    Create The Perfect Homepage For 2014-2015

    The homepage of your website is like the facade of your office or storefront times 10. If people drive by your actual office, they are going to form opinions about you based on the signs, colors, size, neighborhood, overall aesthetics, etc... but they are in front of your office. In most cases, they aren't going to turn the corner, seconds later, and be at your competitor's office. This is especially true for B2B companies.

    Topics: Close SEO Strategy Design More Attract Inbound Marketing

    What is Ongoing SEO and Why is it So Important?

    SEO (search engine optimization) optimizes your website to rank well in the major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! SEO is imperative to online success because of the following statistics (courtesy of Search Engine Journal):

     

     

    SEO is not a one-time endeavor that your business can check off a list and never have to worry about again. Instead, it demands continuous attention to reach its maximum potential and to remain an effective tool for your business. This is where ongoing SEO comes into play.

     

    Ongoing SEO analyzes the results of the services initially provided to make sure they are working. Many firms use tools like Google Analytics, MySEOTool, Moz tools, and more to review their activities and then use them to provide continuous SEO improvement. For example, here at p80, we provide ongoing reporting, recommendations, and modifications to ensure that our client company’s traffic and visibility see continuous improvement.

     

    You may be thinking to yourself, “Hmm… My business already paid for SEO services when we created/upgraded our website. We’re already optimized so we don’t need ongoing SEO services.”

     

    This is where you are wrong. Here is why:

    Someone needs to monitor the results of those SEO services your paid for:

    Yes, you have been optimized, but how well are those tactics that you have already invested in working? You may have some of your original SEO work performing poorly when you should be spending time on another tactic. Some of your web pages just may not be performing well SEO-wise and need to be modified. Ongoing SEO services can compare strategies and determine which one performs better. Through ongoing SEO you can make the adjustments necessary to ensure that your links stay on the first page of search results.

     

    You competition’s SEO tactics have changed since you implemented your tactics:

    If your competition is working on its SEO, you better be too! Your competition could start outranking your business on search result pages, costing your sales. If your competition starts ranking for keywords that you used to rank for then changes need to be made. This is where ongoing SEO comes in to keep you ahead of your competition.

     

    Search Engine algorithms are always changing:

    Most savvy Google users know that the company is always trying to improve its services and grow its market share (which is currently at an astonishing 67.3%) These changes include the algorithms for ranking websites. According to Moz, Google changes its search algorithm approximately 500-600 times each year. Most of these changes are insignificant, but some are major changes that affect search results. Accordingly, any successful results of SEO work done in the past can be negatively affected, making ongoing SEO even more important for your business. We stay up to date on all of those changes so you don't have to.

    Topics: Close SEO Google Strategy Design More Attract Analytics Inbound Marketing

    4 Great Web Marketing Resources This Week - Curated Goodness

    There are a ton of excellent web marketing resources online for succeeding as a web marketer. Here are 4 great reads I found this week:

    How To Write A Tweet: 8 Formulas To Get You Started

    This great post by Diana Urban, Director of Conversion Marketing at HubSpot, is a great "getting started" resource for small businesses. I know many of the SMBs that we meet know very little about Twitter and very rarely use it. That's unfortunate because it's often a much better platform for B2B companies than Facebook. Give it a read and start using Twitter more effectively.

    Why Your Business Needs A Google+ Page Too

    This post was a guest post on the always valuable Duct Tape Marketing Blog, by Diana Gomez (Diana's were great resources this week :)). In it, Diana discusses how Google designed Google+ Pages in part so that business owners can maximize Google's features for their own business purposes. Diana also gives tips on setting up your company page, getting listed professionally on Google Maps through Google+, and how to use Hastags to start conversations. It's a must read! Especially for all of you business owners that keep saying Facebook doesn't work for your business!!

    60 Marketing Acronyms Every Industry Pro Should Know

    While Hubspot's title would lead you to believe this is only for marketing professionals, I would argue that this is a great resource for solopreneurs and folks at small businesses that have been tasked with working with a vendor to implement a web marketing strategy. This blog post by Lindsay Kolowich at HubSpot will get you up to speed with all of the marketing lingo you need to have an intelligent conversation with your web marketing vendor.

    100+ Questions You Must Ask When Developing A Web Site

    This very comprehensive list is a must read for marketers AND small businesses that are getting ready to start a website development or web marketing project. Written by Stoney deGeyter, this article touches on many important aspects of a web marketing project. Specifically, I love the way deGeyter places the emphasis on marketing as the primary driver of a web marketing project, versus the technical aspect. Many small businesses mix that up and spend too much time worrying about the technical aspect, and not enough on the marketing impact. Stoney also outlines a great list of questions to define the true scope of work to be done. Scope creep is a common problem with any web project, so this will help make sure everyone is on the same page with what needs done.

    Topics: Close SEO Strategy Design More Attract Inbound Marketing

    4 Reasons You Need A Website Redesign and Inbound Marketing

    Getting clear on "why" you need a website redesign and inbound marketing is a step that most small to medium sized businesses don't take. Many are simply ready to refresh the look and feel of their website and have heard of a few new tactics that they should consider trying. Most do not have a solid foundation on the "why".

    Here are 4 reasons why you need a website redesign and inbound marketing.

    1 - Your Site's Design Doesn't Build Trust

    Whether we want to admit it or not, our first opinions of someone or something are formed by the way they/it look. The same applies online. The difference is that in the real world, a face to face interaction will allow any preconceived opinions to be changed or solidified. Online, when someone is searching for a solution to their needs and they land on a site that doesn't visually appeal to there sense of trust, they immediately hit the back button. There's very few times online when you need to give a site a 2nd look if it doesn't build trust with you based on it's aesthetics. Your prospects are onto the next option if your site looks excessively dated or unprofessional.

    It's important to note that there is no need for frequent, visual redesigns. If you have invested in a solid, professional design, it will last you much longer than you think. Always remember that your visitor is much more concerned with the content on your pages than look and feel, AS LONG AS your look and feel are professional and trustworthy. If you have a questionable or dated design you probably need a website redesign and inbound marketing.

    2 - You Want To Generate More Leads For Your Salespeople

    In most cases our clients are B2B and don't do direct sales online. They do however try to generate leads for their sales people to close through strait forward features like quote request or contact forms, and indirect means like whitepaper or ebook download forms. This is an area where you really need to get specific about how many leads you are trying to generate, how many of them get converted to sales, etc...

    If you say you need a website redesign and inbound marketing so you can generate more leads, you are technically successful if you get 1 more lead than you were getting before. Being specific and detailing how many leads you get now, how many more you want to get in a certain time frame, and what percentage of closes you want will help you solidify the "why" aspect of needing a website redesign and inbound marketing.

    3 - You're Falling Behind Online Relative To Your Competition

    If I had a penny for every time someone explained their business to me as "the leading this, that, or the other thing", I wouldn't be writing this blog post :). When we dig into the details of their web marketing efforts, we see that while they may be THE leader, no one online has a chance to know that because their SEO is non existent and they have no consistent effort to generate leads or sales through their website. Even worse, their competitors are kicking their butts online and taking market share. Not good!

    When we hear that a prospect is "the leader", we make it clear that a website redesign and inbound marketing are needed to express that and prove that it's really the case.

    4 - You Want To Increase Revenues Or Profits

    This one clearly ties back to #1, #2 and #3 above. In an ideal world, our clients would all be able to realistically outline exact revenue or profit goals that a website redesign and inbound marketing strategy would help achieve. Unfortunately, that's very rarely the case. In fact most SMBs are redesigning their website simply "because it's been a while". That's not an effective use of capital.

    A better reason is because you are trying to increase revenues by 10% this year while maintaining a profit margin of 18%. This is more specific and gives a much better business reason as to why you need a website redesign and inbound marketing. Because web marketing is so measurable, it's feasible to use analytics to evaluate your performance against those goals. These types of specific goals truly kick up the pressure on why you need a website redesign and inbound marketing.

     

    Topics: Close SEO Strategy Design More Attract Inbound Marketing

    A Guide to Creating Your Bing Places for Business Listing

    Every business wants to make connect more to its customers and increase its chances of gaining new customers. “Bing Places for Business is a free service that allows you to add or claim your business listing on Bing and be found by millions of Bing users searching online” Bing. It is simply another outlet for businesses to connect with Internet users and is an excellent opportunity to gain more customers.

    Topics: Close SEO Strategy Design More Attract Inbound Marketing

    Why Do Your Clients/Customers Buy From You?

    Reason 1:______________________________

    Reason 2:______________________________

    Reason 3:______________________________

    If I had to guess I'd say you listed things like your level of service, your history of quality and reliability and your willingness to do whatever it takes to make your clients/customers fully satisfied. Those are all good reasons for someone to do business with you. Are those things that all of your new prospects know when they are looking for your product or service? In some cases a referral may provide those insights, but those aren't the prospects I'm talking about.

    Do the new clients you work with that have found your offering on their own know about these things? No. Most do not. Your website, advertisements and print collateral may try to convey those messages, but let's be honest. These new prospects only made a connection with you for 1 reason:

    THEY THOUGHT YOU COULD SOLVE ONE OF THEIR PROBLEMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That's right. Initially, they weren't at all concerned with your level of service, quality or willingness to make them happy. They were hopeful that you had a solution to a problem that they have.

    Apply This Knowledge To Your Website

    If your goal is to generate new leads/prospects/clients through your website, then your website, it's search engine optimization, and overall inbound strategy should be largely focused around the problems that you solve. Your prospects aren't going to Google "widgets with highest level of service" in their research for a solution to their problems. Do you? Probably not.

    Think about the problems you help solve or the goals you help achieve for your clients. It will lead to a treasure trove of topics to write about in your content marketing strategy, calls to actions for your website, and themes for ads in your PPC campaigns.

    Topics: Close SEO Strategy Design More Attract Inbound Marketing

    Before A Website Redesign, Identify Your Buyer Personas

    Gearing up for a website redesign? Great! I hope we're helping you! :)

    Either way, it's an exciting time! I hope you are also working on a full inbound marketing strategy. Doing both simultaneously has some advantages, such as ensuring you don't have to rework your new site design to accommodate your inbound marketing efforts. One area that should most certainly be identified and thought about is the various buyer personas your organization has. When visitors arrive on their site, they don't want to figure out what's in it for them. They need to be hit over the head with the value you provide to the buyer persona they fit in.

    True or False: If a visitor finds content that is highly relevant to them they are more likely to spend more time on your website.

    TRUE!

    True or False: If a visitor identifies better with the content that you provide them because it is more relevant to them they are more likely to lead to a sale.

    TRUE!

    Okay, now that the common sense is out of the way, let's talk about buyer personas...

    Establishing Your Buyer Personas

    Call it segmentation if that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and is more familiar. Regardless of the name, we're simply trying to identify differences in the characteristics of your buyers. Every product/service you sell may have a unique buyer persona associated with it. Conversely, every product/service you sell may have the same buyer personas, plus some unique ones. The bottom line is, you need to be able to identify them and know what differentiates one from the other.

    Marketing automation software company identifies Buyer Personas this way:

    Buyer personas are the result of slicing your target audience into individual groups of people. These people are fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.

    Want to make it fun?

    Make each persona a fictitious person and create their profile. When you are preparing to market to a certain persona, you can ask, "Would Bertha respond to this?", or "Would Herman be receptive to this?"

    An Example Of Buyer Personas On A Website

    If we look at a large manufacturer like John Deere. They have a huge selection of products from consumer-grade lawn mowers to industrial-use farm equipment. Each has a distinct buyer persona. If you look at the deere.com website, you'll notice they are narrowing their buyer persona from the beginning:

    After choosing your geographic region you are taken to another broad level page, focused on narrowing down the visitor's buyer persona. Each of the large rotating banners is focused on a different buyer, hoping to grab their attention and whisk them away to the solution to their equipment problems. Even the Top-Navigation puts the narrowing criteria as the very first item, Industry.

    While Deere likely has a very detailed description of each buyer persona, the average Joe can identify with some general personas while looking at the homepage, including:

    1. Investors
    2. Current Customers
    3. New or Upgrading Residential Customers
    4. New or Upgrading Commercial Customers in various industries

    They do a good job of getting out of the visitor's way to let them find the right experience for them. This is harder than clumping all of their products together and having the visitor sort out which are best for them. Once you identify the area of the site best suited for you, they speak directly to you. They don't use the same copy when talking to the Forestry industry as they do the when talking to Military and Government visitors. For example, on the Forestry, they tailor photos and copy directly to the Forestry buyer:

    The site becomes all about the Forestry industry when the visitor selects Forestry. Including the left nav bar, which now speaks directly to the Forestry industry.

    It's About Personalization

    My discussion of the example above only goes as deep as the industry, but Deere no-doubt has customized the experience based on more details of each buyer persona, such as:

    • Gender
    • Age
    • Salary/Hourly
    • Household income
    • Education-level
    • Marital status
    • Number of kids
    • Number of years employed
    • Commonly faced problems (even outside of their products)
    • Values and goals
    • Common sources of related info
    • Many more...

    Knowing your prospective buyers at these levels makes identifying content to create much easier, and much more effective once created! It will also make sure you are speaking directly to them, making a connection that your competitors aren't.

    How Do You Identify Your Organization's Buyer Personas?

    Identifying and creating your organization's buyer personas involves some research about existing clients/customers as well as your ideal customer/client. This research should be focused on

    • Basic demographics (see some listed above)
    • Common background
    • Online behavior
    • Hypothesis of:
      • Personal history
      • Motivations
      • Fears
      • Concerns
      • Problems
      • Values

    You should research/interview/survey good and bad clients/leads along with people you've never been in contact with. Does this take more time than just jumping and getting your site done? Of course! Is it a way better way to handle the process and ensure you are more successful? Absolutely!!

    We Want To Help!

    We want your website redesign and inbound marketing to be a success. To see how we can guide the process, contact us. We're very friendly, and our goal is to help you do things right the first time!

    Topics: Close SEO Websites Strategy Design More Attract Inbound Marketing