Tag Archives: marketing

Landing Pages Help Convert Prospects

Landing Pages Help Convert Prospects. 85639a_92fb3a3f32074e52a022bbed5df76e32

Landing pages.
Landing pages are a way for prospects to find and contact you, instead of the other way around.

This topic is a little involved, so please be patient. All of my readers are not seasoned marketers or public relations people. Many are just starting out and this, like most of my blog posts are written with them in mind.

The reason for a business of any type or size to be active on the web is to recruit more customers. If you run a political campaign, more donors and ultimately voters are the goal. For a non-profit charity, you want to recruit more contributors. Regardless of the enterprise, you need customers.

Awareness or Action

I get amused at marketers and promoters who say the goal of their campaign is to “raise awareness”. Let’s say that I am the chief marketer for the local Burger King franchise and my goal is to raise awareness of my restaurant. People driving past the Burger King and having seen my ads will be aware of the fact that we sell hamburgers.

By the measure of my stated goal, I’ve succeeded. But unless those same passersby come in and buy something, my employees and me will be in search of a new situation because we failed to ask for the order, literally. Awareness of our product is not enough, someone will have to take action, come inside and buy something. Awareness is only part of the challenge for marketers, getting someone to take action is the next and most important and that is where the “landing page” comes in. A landing page requires the one who lands to do something.

The Landing Page Simply Defined

Simply stated, a landing page is a web page that stands alone as it is made for a single purpose. A landing page is the first step for self-qualification of new customers as the person who comes to the landing page, wants to learn more about how you can help them accomplish their goals. For you, that purpose is to expand your mailing list and further introduce yourself and your capabilities to a prospect. You can also connect with them later with more promotional opportunities. For the moment, just collect some very basic information from them. Ask for a name and e-mail address. In exchange, the visitor will receive a free brochure, white paper, coupon, e-book or something else of value. For

There are several different types of landing pages. My personal favorite are the ones like the ones described above, that allow the visitor who lands there the opportunity to download a brochure, position paper, newsletter or some other data at no charge. E-books are also good. But like I said, the only thing to ask for in exchange is the name and e-mail address of the person who wants to download, possibly the company name but no more. The more personal data required, the more likely your prospect is to bail. So ask for the minimum. In exchange, the prospect receives something free, but also valuable.

What To Offer

You now have something of value, a lead. Not only a lead, but one where the individual freely self-nominated himself. Better still, you attract a certain type of prospective customer based on what you offer. To stay with our Burger King example, you could offer a percent off coupon, or buy one get one free, introduce a new type of burger, remind prospects that Chicken Fries are back, etc.

The downloaded item in this instance compels the prospect to go inside the restaurant and buy something. So more than aware, he/she is now a customer. You can use this concept for any type of business. If you are a hair stylist, offer free coloring, if you own a driving range, offer a free bucket of balls. If you are in the chemical manufacturing industry, offer a sample of your new product or free consultation. The landing page is your catalyst for a longer conversation with a prospective customer.

Of course not all landing pages were created equal. And that leads (no pun intended) to the next thing for you to learn, testing.

Test Your Landing Pages

Use two different pages to see which one draws the best results. Known as A/B testing, the value proposition and free download typically remains the same. The layout and design of the landing page(s) is what differs. Try out different colors, photos, headlines, amount of text, and whatever else you can think of to test. I know there is a temptation to always use the color schemes and design that you like. That is not wrong all by itself, but remember that you are not a prospect. Be as dispassionate as you are able to be. The goal is to attract new prospects, not be “right”. Here is an example or two.

Not The Power Of Rational Decision Making

I quoted a job for redoing a series of brochures and signage for a company. The owner really liked purple and so everything was purple. The type and print, was all done in purple. The frames around photos were purple and he used gradients of, you guessed it, purple, on his brochures and other materials. It was like a purple nightmare.

I suggested he make his materials more reader friendly by using black type on white backgrounds and reserve purple as a highlight and way to add contrast. I further suggested A/B testing, just to make sure that we were on the right track and he would see that the more professionally designed materials would lead to more customers over the power of all that purple. After all, the numbers never lie. Just follow the data and he would of course make a rational choice, right? Not right. My suggestions were ignored and I did not get the job. I feel badly for the poor guy though, somewhere sobbing into a big purple pillow, on the road to ruin. Here is another example.

I was working in a very challenging place where one of the marketing staff members had worked there for 16 years. Let’s call her “Stacie”. She had no marketing education or experience other than what she had always done at this place and was left to pretty much whatever she wanted. Getting a new boss (me) was not welcomed. Neither was the idea of doing anything differently.

I thought that a way to persuade her to a different point of view was to test her ideas against some others. Stacie would then see that there was a different and even better way to do things and rationally decide to change. You can guess the end. Instead of embracing the better way of doing things, all she did was get mad and cling to her ideas with more fervor. Don’t be like Stacie or purple man. Be open to new ideas and test them to see if in addition to being different they might also be better.

Non-Computer People’s Ten Additional SEO Steps

Technical shit happens.
SEO is evolving and the bigger your site, the more work you will have to do to make sure that search engines can find you.

Non-Computer People’s Ten Additional SEO Steps. No posting I’ve done got the reaction that my “SEO for Non-Computer People” did. So I thought give the people what they want, more SEO. While I’m not a web or computer beginner by any stretch, I am also not an expert by any stretch either. More often than not its both trial and error that help me stumble forward with new web, software or hardware applications. SEO was different, at least for me. It was not intuitive, there were no patterns to copy, and since I work alone, no one to ask.

Throw money at the problem? Sure. I was contacted by plenty of people who promised to get me on the front page of Google, but that sounded unrealistic. I was born at night but not last night. So when I decided to get serious about blogging and consulting it was time to learn more about this topic.

Why does this matter so much? Because in an era when so many of us “transition” from good jobs at nice companies to single practitioner status we have to be able to compete with others who do know how to do this. And since so many of us make this transition after we turned 50, we did not grow up learning and doing the way younger people did. (Was that transition after the age of 50 for so many of us just a coincidence?)

  1. Will Google find my content if I do not submit my site to Google? Google says they will, but I think you should submit it to them anyway and here is why. My experience is that unless you do submit your site to Google you will not be able to use Google analytics. Since Google is the 800 pound gorilla on line, follow their directions. If you are using Word Press, there is a Google Analytics capability on your dashboard. Go there and it will ask you to paste a line of code into it. To get that line of code you need to go to Google Analytics, set up your account and enter the information for your web site. To do that, you will have to have submitte your site to Google. Full confession, this took me hours to sort out. But once I did, it was learned forever.
  2. What is “robot.txt” file and why should you care. According to Google Webmaster, a robot.txt is “a file at the root of your site that indicates those parts of your site you don’t want accessed by search engine crawlers. The file uses the Robots Exclusion Standard, which is a protocol with a small set of commands that can be used to indicate access to your site by section and by specific kinds of web crawlers (such as mobile crawlers vs desktop crawlers).” So in other words, if you have something on your site that you do not want seen, use this function. Google also has a way for you to test which URLs Google can and cannot access on your website, try using the txt Tester. Of course you will have to register.
  3. Links or content? The landscape of SEO has changed. I read that link and key word building were once a very important part of SEO. Accordingly, on line marketers were investing in that. But now, linking is not the numbers game it once was. Yes, you should include links that are meaningful to your content in your posts and articles. But if you have only the resources to focus on links or content, focus on content.
  4. Meta tags, and meta key words? Before the changes in process by Google, web programmers could jam a bunch of keywords onto to a site and trick the search engine into ranking it higher than it actually warranted. That will not work any more. So what does matter for META?
  5. META descriptions. META descriptions do not impact where your site is listed or ranked, but they do influence people searching for information. The META description is the opportunity to make your site stand out. If you are going to invest your time in SEO for your sitework on the META description.
  6. But I hate this, shouldn’t I just hire someone? You can hire someone who is technically adept but will he (yes it will be a “he”) know your topic like you? Probably not. My opinion is that with any media content site, do the content first. As fast as you are writing about and sharing your expertise, the wizards at Google are figuring out ways to make the SEO process better. And by better I mean a fair system of ranking based on what is there and not based on clever programming designed to game the system.
  7. Key word optimization is king/queen of SEO. Key words are important, no doubt. But like I said earlier, stuffing keywords onto your site will no longer do. Instead of counting and ranking sites by the number of words that shows up, Google is learning how to understand the intent behind those words, ergo, content.
  8. So put your key words in your headline. Write your headline with the keywords in it that are relevant to your content. Google hates it when you try to trick it and will actually punish those who try to cheat the system. It’s not nice to fool mother nature, but far worse to mess with Google. Speaking for myself, I am not qualified to try and game the people at Google. Sincere authorship of something you want to share that will help your fellow citizens is the best way forward for all of us.
  9. Present the most important concepts first. The people you are really working to optimize the site for are the readers. Like we say in journalism, don’t bury the lead. Put your best ideas first.
  10. Please don’t say it’s easy or that I missed something obvious. If it was obvious, I would have listed it. No one was born knowing this. But in the era of outsourced workers who have to compete for work on line, getting your head around the how to’s of some basic SEO skills is a good idea.

Public Relations How It Can Help Any Business

Public Relations How It Can Help Any Business. Anyone who owns a business or dreams of owning one will have to know how to market it to have any chance of success. I decided to write about different marketing techniques that could be leveraged by anyone at any business regardless of the size of that enterprise. So I decided to start with my personal favorite, public relations.

Public relations can be a help to any business of any size.
Public relations can be a help to any business of any size.

What is Public Relations?

For this discussion we will limit to business promotion using the news media. So here ‘media relations’, is about getting free publicity for yourself, your business or your product. The difference between advertising and publicity is that with advertising, you pay for the space so you can make that space look and say exactly what you want it to. With publicity, you need to convince a journalist that your business provides an interesting story for their readers but you do not pay the media outlet.

What Does Public Relations Look Like/How Does It Work

You are doing several things at once or at the same time. Introducing yourself to a reporter as a source of expertise for future article input is one example. Additionally you help journalists create newsworthy articles about your product or service via your media release or with an interview that you or your agency representative initiated. The journalist receives your media release, decides to include you in a piece they’re doing and then mentions your business in their article. This is best case. If you are a newcomer to any given field, it will take some time for you to build up some credibility or be remembered as someone who is able to contribute.

It often takes a month or longer before you start to see your results in the media. Most monthly magazines work 2-3 months in advance and newspapers can take at least a couple of weeks. Radio and online media such as websites and blogs can be more immediate. Think of your work in public relations as a front-end loaded investment. There is a lot of cost at first with the payoffs coming later.

Who Can Benefit from Public Relations?

It would take less time to mention who cannot. Regardless of the business or service you offer, there are few that cannot leverage public relations as a viable promotional tool. Does it help if you work for a large and well-recognized company? Honestly, and based on my experience, it does but the reason is not what you might think. Big business cannot buy news coverage, but big brands will draw the eye of the reporter before smaller or lesser-known brands. It’s a matter of identity and not credibility. When I worked for The Dow Chemical Company I knew that my releases would get read and published just because of the Dow diamond logo on the letterhead. When I worked for TIC Gums, a family owned food ingredient company, I had to be more creative. So I helped invent a new language to describe “texture” in food and beverages. It was clever enough to garner a lot of attention. We were competing with a lot of other, much bigger companies but got a lot of recognition because we were wiling to take a chance and risk ridicule with “the texture revolution”. The only thing really revolutionary was the way we used words to describe something that was thought to be difficult to describe.

So do what we did with your own business. Be more visible more often than the big guys. Find a niche topic within your industry that will set you apart from them and then, tell an interesting story. It is not easy and I do not mean to imply in any way that it is. But like all things that are difficult, the payoff is worthwhile.

Why Choose Publicity and Public Relations Over Advertising?

First, I am not opposed to advertising. I love advertising and would use it a lot more often except that it is expensive. When putting together even a modest ad campaign there are costs for copywriters, photographers, illustrators, lay out and design. This is before anyone ever buys the space in a magazine, newspaper, or electronic media vehicle. Another reason is that for advertising to work, it has to be repeated. The axiom in advertising is reach and frequency. Reach is the audience that will be interested in the advertising message. Frequency is the number of times the ad must appear before anyone in the audience takes the action that advertiser wants. Those actions can be anything from a product trial, sample request, or further investigation all before anyone goes to make a purchase. On top of this, the cost of advertising is added to the cost of the product or service thus raising the price. Since a lot of merchants sell on offering the lowest price, the cost of ads can put them at a competitive disadvantage. Not so public relations.

The cost of public relations is less, as there are never any space or time purchases. Good press releases can be written in-house or by an outside vendor. And while all good press releases will have a color photo with them, these publicity shots do not carry the cost of most commercial photography. In fact, I took a lot of my own pictures while at TIC Gums. But there are other reasons to advocate for public relations besides cost saving.

Credibility. Everyone acknowledges (if unconsciously) that companies pay for ads and can say whatever they want as often as they can afford it. Similarly, they know that articles that are published as news are accorded 7-10 times more credibility and memorability than any paid space ad. Further, the media outlet that covers your company is effectively endorsing you and telling everyone how great you are. When advertising, you are saying how great you are. And isn’t it better to have others praising you?

What Do You Need To Get Started?

You need to be able write reasonably, be a good speller and able to do punctuation and grammar. Keep it simple, just who, what, when, where, why and how. For begginers and even veterans, realize that this is news writing and not a creative writing assignment. The more concise your release, the better.