The Point

Archive for the ‘Web-based marketing’ Category

Dec

Marketing Gurus: Do They Get Wiser Through the Years?

In this and a few upcoming posts, I’m going to share some favorites from 2014. This year, I was asked to answer questions for a good number of round-up posts. They were all good fun, but I’d have to say this one from Oktopost was my favorite because of its playful angle.

Blast From The Past! 16 B2B Marketing Gurus Share Their Advice” is full of great tips and amusing photos of us marketing folks from years past.

Here’s Oktopost’s story…

We couldn’t build a time machine, so we did the next best thing! We chose 16 B2B marketing gurus we look up to, and asked them the following question:

“If you could give one piece of B2B marketing advice to your younger self, what would it be?”

The response was overwhelming, and it was incredible to travel back in time with these experts – some of whom have witnessed the B2B marketing industry evolve over the past few decades. Read their valuable insights, and think about the advice you’d give yourself if you could re-visit your earlier days.

Jason Falls, SVP Digital Strategy, Elasticity

“My advice to my younger self would be to believe wholeheartedly that the only difference between a good day and a bad day, a good client and a bad client, a good job and a bad job, is unequivocally attitude. When I look back on some of the crappier experiences in my career, I can say without a doubt that my attitude was the single-largest contributor to the crap. I’d tell me to wake up every day proud to do what you do, work with who you work with, and with the full understanding that even if there’s a pile of crap waiting for you at the office, you were put on this earth to go tackle it and kick its ass. Attitude makes everything better. Or worse.” [Jason Falls/Elasticity]

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Dec

How to Write a Home Page Headline that Gets the Job Done

Home page headline

You’ve arrived, but feel lost. Or confused. You’re being bombarded with stimuli. Or too many choices. You’re unsure what to do next.

I know exactly what you’re going to do next. You’re going to leave. You’re off in search of a place where you feel comfortable, confident, more “at home.”

Now here’s the rub. You actually were at someone’s home—their home on the web—their home page, but something went terribly wrong.

The problem’s simple enough. The home page isn’t simple enough. The host made you work. As a website visitor, you don’t want that. And as a website host, your goal must be to invoke a sense of belonging.

The home page has a job to do: get clicked

Bounce rate, which is revealed in your analytics, indicates the percentage of web site visits where only a single page was viewed. Translation: zero clicks.

For a blog site, you need not get overly concerned about bounce rate. One-and-done visits are common. However, those that enter your site via its home page are likely to be first-timers. In this case, a high bounce rate is deadly.

So how do you inspire a visitor to click a page deeper into your site? You interest them. And how do you interest your visitor? You communicate an idea that is easy to understand and memorable. Marketers often describe such ideas as “sticky.”

Made to Stick, the bestselling book by Chip and Dan Heath, spells out the formula with six principles. The first, and perhaps, most vital, is simplicity.

I’ll paraphrase from the book where they ask and answer the question, “How do you find the essential core of your ideas?” They submit you must be a master of exclusion. You must relentlessly prioritize.

The book’s chapter on simplicity also offers the following:

  • It’s hard to make ideas stick in a noisy environment
  • You must weed out ideas, even if they’re important, in an effort to highlight the most important one
  • Uncertainty—caused by multiple choices—tends to paralyze readers
  • Powerful ideas are compact and meaningful

Is your homepage simple? Does it elicit the response you want from visitors? If it’s not clear and compact, it’s time to review and revise it. It’s time to simplify. It’s time to learn how to write a home page headline that inspires visitors to stick around and click around.

What’s in it for me?

If you’ve studied copywriting even a wee bit, you’re likely to have read the “WIIFM” lesson. A common derivative of it goes: readers don’t care about your company or product; they care about themselves.

I want to say you get the idea. I want to say everybody does. But they don’t. In fact, I don’t think it’d be outrageous to say a painfully large majority can’t (and maybe never will) comprehend the concept. And it’s a pity because when you shine the spotlight on yourself, you lose business.

Your headline has a job to do

While your typical web-browsing human is obviously not a goldfish, researchers like to explain his or her average attention span falls short of the little orange pucker’s.

This means your job is to create a page, which is capable of expanding the average attention span. You need to grab ‘em fast. This is the headline’s job. The headline on your home page is the first line the visitor reads and therefore the most important line on your entire website.

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Sep

Online Marketing Experts Aren’t Always Right

ONLINE MARKETING EXPERTTrue or false:
You should do what online marketing experts say. 

Tralse? Fue? Help me. I’m looking for some middle ground.

See, online marketing is:

(A) Hard
(B) Ever-changing
(C) Continuously experimental
(D) Different for everybody
(E) All of the above

You bet your F’in’ A the answer’s (E).

Marketing changes at the speed of screen flicker

So we scour blogs and any other content we can get our retinas on, hoping to stay tuned into what’s up in digital. I trust you’re able to sniff out the obvious manure, but fear when you identify a super-duper, guru-like, thought leader, influencer, you accept everything he or she says as the gospel.

Don’t.

Read and gather. Try out the tips that sound the most promising. But please, don’t accept every popular maxim at face value.

Here are several I see often along with a much-needed reality check.

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Sep

The Power of Social Recommendations, Word of Mouth Marketing and the Coolest Kid in Kindergarten

social recommendations word of noth

“Eat your beets.”

That’d be mom talking to her son Zack.

Zack doesn’t like what he sees. These round globs are red. Dark red. They appear to be bleeding. His mother says, “You’ll love them. Trust me.” Zack, of course, loves his mom. Trust is another story.

Mom says, “They’re really good for you.” Zack thinks, I most certainly do not care.

Mom says, “I used to love beets when I was your age.” Zack thinks, you’ve played that card one too many times mom and your credibility isn’t real high after sending me to class photos in a paisley bowtie telling me I look handsome.

Mom thinks about calling in dad, but he’s a bit of a pushover when it comes to the eat-your-vegetables exercise. His credibility’s in the tank too thanks to promising Zack all summer long the Cubs would play in the World Series.

This scene concludes with no beet eating whatsoever. Cut.

Now let’s imagine a different scenario. It’s lunchtime at school. Zack’s with his buddy. We’ll call him Jake (since most boys go by this name now).

Jake’s a trustworthy dude. Cool too. His parents let him wear a Ninja Turtles shirt for pictures. His Avengers lunchbox is off-the-charts dope and everything that springs from it has proven to be tasty. Just last week Jake gave Zack his first taste of Reese’s Pieces. Yesterday was birthday cake flavored Oreo cookies. Suffice to say, with Jake as his culinary advisor, Zack can’t go wrong.

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Aug

Social Proof Marketing Makes Your Register Ring

Disneyland crowd

The happiest place on earth is a zoo. Actually, it’s a theme park. Disneyland, right? It has mice and ducks and all kinds of animals running around, but they’re uncaged. I call it a zoo because it’s crowded.

The crowds don’t keep you away though, do they? In fact, they have the opposite effect.

Same goes for a restaurant. You peer into an empty one and quickly conclude the food must suck. The one next door has a waiting list and gads of people out front anxiously waiting to be summoned by their little buzzer. Must be the tastier of the two.

Psychologists, sociologists and new media marketingologists call this powerful dynamic “social proof.” Most of us less scientific sheeps don’t call it anything. We simply choose to follow the crowd. (more…)

Apr

Smart Marketing Decisions vs. the Personal Bias Getting In Your Way

smart marketing

Check me out. A new client told me he hates pop-up opt-in boxes on websites. As website tactics go, this one seems to be high on people’s hate list.

Know what I said? I said, “It doesn’t matter if you hate them. We’re going to do what works.”

Now if you know me, you know I’m not for everyone. I say what I think. I always tell clients, “You don’t have to agree with my opinion, but you do have to hear it.” Nothing wrong with that, right?

I mean isn’t it my expertise you’ve hired me for? If you call a plumber to come out and mire through the shit plumbers have to mire through, you’re not going to crawl under the sink with him and tell him how to fix the problem, are you?

I have one client who refers clients to me now and then with a warning, “Barry’s kind of opinionated.” I’m smiling. I don’t apologize for being opinionated. And I don’t attempt to hide the fact that when I’m giving you advice for making your online marketing more effective it’s because I know how. So, yeah, if you have thin skin, I’m not your guy.

email optin

[Pardon the interruption… Kristi Hines published a tremendous post on pop-up optin forms including examples, stats, case studies, tools, and way more, so if this subject interests you, see you soon. FYI, her posts are always intensely informative.]

Back to my story. I was a bit brash, I guess. So in the silence that ensued, I felt obliged to jump back in and explain. That went like this:

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Mar

Online Marketers, What’s the Plan? Got a Planner?

the planf or effective online marketing

 

“What so many small businesses need more than anything is … a plan.”
Brian Clark, Copyblogger

Looking for the great shortcut to immense success with online marketing? Sorry, wrong article.

Ready to roll up your sleeves and get busy forging a plan to create the kind of content that will produce a traffic, lead and sales-building inbound marketing program? Perfect. Here we go.

What’s the plan?

“The Plan” or “The Plan to Grow Your Business with Effective Online Marketing,” is a concise and information-packed eBook I produced to acquaint you with the fundamentals of new media marketing. Despite its low price, zero, it’s a thorough preview of all the essential elements you’ll use to make online marketing the catalyst of your business. Read the sucker.

What’s the planner?

“The Planner” or “The Planner for Growing Your Business with Effective Online Marketing,” is your essential sequel to “The Plan.” It’s a strategic workbook. Snag a free copy of it as a PDF and then click the link within it when you’re ready to begin planning.


You’ll land at a page that’s an interactive tool created to help you collect your thoughts. The planner maps everything out for you. I ask a series of questions. You answer them. When I feel you may need an example or ideas to tackle a task, I provide them.

There’s more to it than I’ve written in this post, but the passages that follow will definitely get you primed for the planner. (more…)

Mar

I Am What I Am: Personal Branding Tips from Michael Hyatt and Me

personal branding tips

You. Me. Michael Hyatt. Popeye.

Perhaps we don’t have that much in common. Ah, but we do. Personal brands are we. Our agendas may differ—better job, more clients, book sales, or (your goal here)—but we seek the same things: recognition, respect, influence and success.

You, my friend, are a brand.

A photographer. Life coach. Presentation expert. Alternative energy entrepreneur. Website developer. Skin care clinician. These are six simplified profiles of clients who have hired me recently to help them create more effective online marketing by developing their personal brand.

This is no trend. It’s social media, publishing, marketing, sales, work, play, passion and everything you read about all rolled into one.

I realize now it’s what I’ve been doing (and sometimes struggling with) since I went to work for myself. Or is it? It’s probably more accurate to say it’s what I’ve been doing since my bar mitzvah—defining the man I am.

With that in mind, I submit to you personal branding is something you need to understand. It’s something you need to develop deliberately—even if what you’ve been doing and saying to this day has been largely accidental.

I’ve been thinking about you.

I’ve been thinking about me too. And I’ve been thinking about the professionals I mentioned above who have put their trust in me to feed ‘em the spinach they need to nourish their personal brands. There’s a lot to consider.

To learn more, I turned to some personal branding experts and bought some helpful books:

There’s a lot of great information in these books and each author offers tons of great advice via their blog.

I’ve found when I get in conversations about personal branding, Michael Hyatt’s name comes up a lot. A former publishing executive, Michael shares his wisdom via a blog, podcasts, videos, books, information products and speaking gigs.

As luck would have it, Michael was scheduled to speak at New Media Expo in January, where I was also headed to speak. I went to his session and gathered some great tips for getting started with personal branding. (more…)

Feb

Key Concepts and Highlights from the Masters of Inbound Marketing

inbound marketing book

Four years or so ago, after having invested 20-plus years in marketing, I had no doubt I knew what I was doing. Then the term “inbound marketing” caught fire—thanks to a book by the same name, written by the two founders of HubSpot.

I read the book. Then doubt was ALL I had. I felt like a rookie all over again.

Everything changed. I mean everything. Marketing turned outside in. It turned inbound.

I chowed down a healthy heap of humble pie and got serious about getting schooled in how things work in the Internet age. I read and wrote. Listened and watched. Studied and worked. And clicked until it all started to click.

I get inbound marketing now. I want to make sure you do too. You may not need to live and breathe it. You have me for that. But if inbound marketing is still mysterious to you, I want to help you gain a general understanding of what it is and how it’s done.

What is inbound marketing?

The best way to begin to understand what inbound marketing is to understand it’s not outbound marketing. It doesn’t rely on buying ads or contacts lists. You don’t spray messages and pray for leads.

You don’t push. You pull. You do so by creating content that pulls people toward your company and product because they seek answers you have.

When you regularly publish content in line with your customer’s interests, you attract inbound traffic and establish relationships you can nurture to convert lookers to loyalists.

Inbound marketing is the most effective and cost-efficient way to do marketing now. (more…)

Jan

Want to Increase Your Website Traffic 500%?

increase website traffic

I look at my website’s analytics more often than I used, with more knowledge about how to interpret it, and greater ability to use the data I gather to make my online marketing more effective. In a digital world, numbers rule.

I just looked at it from a year-to-date point of view—a limited picture for sure, but I liked what I found. My traffic is FIVE TIMES higher compared to the same dates a year prior.

Maybe you could care less how much traffic my site gets. That’s fair. However, I’m thinking if I share with you how I managed to catapult my traffic, you might apply some of my insights to send your traffic soaring. Sound good?

The main reason why my traffic is flying high.

It’s no secret. I can’t offer you a magic formula. I create heaps of content. Also, I promote it relentlessly.

Partners, prospects and customers often ask me about how I’ve managed to create such a prolific content marketing program, and consequently, a high traffic path to my door.

I’m not sure you’re going to like my answer: a massive amount of very hard work.

If you want to improve your traffic, you must do the same. It may mean carving out the time to create content. It may mean beefing up your content marketing resources.

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