In the world of Software as a Service (SaaS), first impressions often matter more than you would think. With so many other companies out there working on solving the same problems, you usually have a limited window to impress your visitors. This is where the importance of clever and converting landing page design in SaaS comes in.

Here are our 7 tips to help you craft a page that works:

Include explainer videos

Understanding exactly what a tool does is often the challenge potential leads face when first coming across a product – and not many of them will take the time to read your copy to learn more.

However, if you manage to include a short but to-the-point explainer video on your landing pages, your chances of getting your value across will increase.

Here is an example from Forms on Fire – they provide mobile data collection software – where a minute and a half is all it takes to get to know the product and determine whether you are interested or not.

Invest a lot of creativity in your header

You are often told how important headers are in content writing – the same is true for landing page copy, as the impact your header will have on a visitor is crucial.

You want to represent your brand, you want to get your main point across, you want to showcase your value, explain what you are really about and get people to convert: in no more than a sentence or two.

Which is where the challenge lies.

Take the example of Crazyegg, who provide an unspecified website improvement service – and have a very attractive header to show for it.

Since they offer a 30-day free trial and promise to instantly improve your website, there isn’t much a visitor could lose. So their header works like a charm.

Your calls-to-action are also key

However, you don’t need to be as creative with them as with your headers: a simple “get started”, “start your trial”, or a “sign up now” will work – but what’s important here is how you preempt the CTA.

Most international, huge, famous companies have simple CTAs – Netflix, Hulu, Dropbox, Evernote, etc. – they don’t have a catchphrase or a funny saying slapped onto their pages.

What they do have is a clear list of benefits (what it is you are getting from the service) and a straightforward way of signing up for the service.

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Make it easy to access

Which leads right to our next tip: don’t make signing up very complicated.

You may want to make credit card data compulsory, but even if you do, make it as easy as possible to fill in your form and move on to the next step.

Whether or not you are offering a free trial, or have something like the Ahrefs 7 days for $7 trial period, you still want your leads to be able to accomplish their goal (sign up), in as little time as digitally and humanly possible.

If you are seeing a lot of uncompleted sign-up forms, try making the form simpler, and eliminate some of your required fields: we understand you want to gather as much data as possible about your leads, but maybe spread data collecting out over a longer period of time.

Show the process

If you don’t feel the use of your tool requires an entire video, still try to explain how to make it work, especially if the tool in question does something essentially simple, but very useful.

TimeTackle, a software designed to pull your calendar off of the cloud, has a great four-step explanation of the process users will need to run through once they have the tool, making it very easy for users to decide whether they want to give it a go or not.

Always remember that while some of your users will be very tech-savvy, others might have more of a hard time understanding even the more basic concepts. That’s why you need to try to figure out a language that will speak to your target audience, as well as all its variations and levels of understanding.

Offer social proof where it makes sense

A lot of landing pages incorporate social proof – which is essentially a great move, but does not always make sense.

You don’t have to repeat the same testimonials on every page, nor do you have to showcase different satisfied customers on every corner.

When talking about the benefits of your product, or when showcasing use cases and success stories, social proof is more than welcome.

Here is the example of Gusto, who make payroll, insurance, and a whole host of other tasks easier– who have added in plenty of social proof, yet have not made it sound like they are bragging, or like they have solicited recommendations from their users.

The basics: webpage design

Of course, there is another important element you should never forget: webpage design.

And we are not just talking about the colors and font you choose (although it is in itself very important). You should also think about the emotions you want to elicit, the value you want to portray, and the target audience you are aiming for.

Naturally, navigation, user experience and user-friendliness, responsiveness, and a whole host of other webpage optimization tactics should also all play their part. If you have elements that don’t load properly, don’t work on certain screen sizes, or if your pages are cluttered and crowded, all the other good work you may have done won’t be worth a dime.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, these tips will help you design better SaaS landing pages in the future – but remember, there is no bulletproof design formula that will work for every website. You need to keep your own target market and product in mind when designing sales pages, rather than just considering what has worked for others in the past.

In fact, a lot of these tips were once novelties that have since been proven to work by countless websites. So why not come up with the next one?

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As a Consulting company, businesses come to you for advice. You are recognized as an expert in your field. Over the years, you have built a reputation for building businesses – navigating them through periods of difficulty before finding success. 

The Consulting company represents the years invested in the industry; a venture that gives you the opportunity to share your experience and knowledge with other businesses hoping to find success in their respective fields.

It must be exciting to see your first calling card as a Consultant! 

When you distribute your calling card to friends, associates, and potential clients, you are confidently telling them that if they need help with their business, all they have to do is to call the number on the card.

A better calling card would be a website. Not only can a potential client find your contact information on your website, but he can find all the information he needs to make a decision about hiring your services as a Consultant.

Why Does A Consulting Company Need A Website?

For the same reason that every other company in any industry needs a website – to grow their business by capitalizing on opportunities available on the Internet.  If your company does not have a website, you are undermining its potential for success. 

Businesses look for consultants who can help them get over periods of economic difficulties. A company can have MBAs and Ph.D.’s on their payroll or hire the best CEO money can buy and still – it may not find solutions to pressing concerns.

Consultants have the advantages of experience and viewing the situation from an unfiltered lens. There are no biases to overcome and consultants can draw upon years of experience to come up with the best possible solutions as well as alternative courses of action.

How will a company find a consultant for its business?

Its key officers can ask for recommendations from friends and associates who have hired business consultants. Perhaps one of the company’s directors knows someone who runs a consulting firm.

Or a designated officer can run a simple online search.

Internet searches using the keywords “top consulting companies in my area”, “consulting company in my area”, “best consulting company in my area” or “Consulting company in (the type of industry)” will yield the top URLs for those searches in the SERP or Search Engine Results Page.

How many searches can there be? 

Depending on your state, the search for the keywords “Consulting Company” or “Consulting Business” could amount to hundreds of millions of searches per month. 

If you don’t have a website for your Consulting Company, how can your business be found when it can’t participate in the searches that happen for your services on a daily basis?

Thus, it’s important for your Consulting company to have a website in order for your business to be found on the Internet. Otherwise, you will be missing out on the opportunities that take place every single day.

However, it’s not enough just to have a website.

You must have an amazing website!

3 Reasons Why Your Consulting Business Should Have An Amazing Website

According to a survey by Devrix, 60% of small businesses don’t have a website. 35% of small business owners surveyed said they feel their business is “too small” to merit a website. 

Thus, 6 out of 10 small businesses cannot take advantage of the opportunities available on the Internet:

As a business, you don’t want to miss out on these opportunities that can help grow your enterprise. 

As a company offering business consulting services, you know how important it is for businesses to have a website. 

One reason why your client’s sales are lagging is because he does not have a website for his business or if he does, there’s a good chance the website is not performing well.

To send out a strong message to your client, you must show that you practice what you preach.  If you believe that having a website is important for business, then for a Consulting company, you must have a website for your business!

Here are 3 good reasons why your Consulting company should have a website:

1. Build Your Business Brand

Let’s face it. Digital is the current reality. It is not a passing fad. Life and work are heavily influenced by the Internet and the latest innovations in digital technology. 

If you are not involved in the digital world, you will be left behind by your competitors.

Out of the 7.75 billion people in the world, 5.17 billion own a mobile device and 3.5 billion are smartphones. 

More than 4.5 billion people are on the Internet daily – searching and sharing information. 

Review our stat from the previous section:

80% of consumers – 8 out of 10 – feel more confident dealing with a business that has a website.

Think of your website as your online office or business establishment. Potential customers who want to learn more about your business will click on your URL. 

Having a website builds credibility, trust, and confidence. It shows consumers that you are heavily invested in your business. You’re not going to “go cheap” on your business by settling for a Facebook business page. 

If you don’t have a website, you don’t have an online presence. 

Having a business website also shows potential customers that you are actively engaged and updated with technology. You’re current; in with the times and recognize the importance of being accessible to customers 24/7. 

As a Consulting company you have to be in with the times because the business environment is in a constant flow of change. 

In consulting, a proposal summarizing the changes that need to be in place to initiate the rehabilitation plan is usually submitted after a business audit is conducted and evaluated.

Why will a business trust your company if you’re resistant to change?

Before anything else, sit down with a web designer such as Mountaintop and start planning the website for your Consulting company!

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2. Achieve Your Business Goals

To be clear, you need a solid digital marketing campaign to achieve your business goals. 

Digital marketing is the process of using Internet-based tools, platforms, and strategies to market and promote your business.

Social media marketing is an example of a platform that can be used to distribute information about your business, its products and services. 

The website is the center of your digital marketing universe. It is the destination point for the interest generated by your posts. 

A good analogy would be a flyer that you receive inside the mall. If the content of the flyer interests you, chances are you would visit the establishment featured in the flyer. 

If not, the flyer will end up in the trash receptacle.

In digital marketing, your post will only be read by those who are interested in your content. Those who are not, will merely skip through it. Nothing gets thrown in the trash can. 

The interested reader will ask “Where can I find out more about the company?” if your post has a link to your website, all the reader has to do is click on it. Within a few seconds, he will land on your home page.

From there, you can work on the reader and apply techniques that will help you achieve your goals.

  • Is your goal to build your business reputation? Include a link to your Blog page.
  • Is your goal to create trust? Add client testimonials on your home page.
  • Is your goal to trigger interest? Create a Call to Action (CTA) on the home page that directs the visitor to your Services page.
  • Is your goal to generate leads? Have a Sign Up Button on the home page and inform the visitor that if he signs up for the newsletter, he gets a free whitepaper. 
  • Is your goal to get the visitor to start the consulting process? Include a button on the home page that takes the visitor to the Contact Us page where he can fill out a questionnaire or a Request for Information (RFI) form.

With a website, everything that you want done can be done. The design of the website should make it easy for visitors to navigate through the website and complete the required processes.

The site visitor who is serious about getting your services will greatly appreciate the convenience provided by the website. 

3. Challenge Other Consulting Companies in the Search Rankings

As we mentioned earlier, if your Consulting company does not have a website, you will be left behind by the competition. There is a greater probability of getting discovered by your potential clients if you have a website because you will have an online presence.

With a website, you can present a challenge to your competitors in the search rankings. 

Again, this is the domain of your digital marketing campaign. A smart and purposeful digital marketing campaign that strategically uses processes such as SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising can help your website rocket up the search rankings. 

The higher up the search rankings, the greater becomes the traffic heading to your website.

A study by Chitika revealed that the number one position in the search rankings got 32.5% of all search traffic and the top 3 websites garnered 61.5% of total search traffic. 

Therefore, a website gives you the means to challenge your competitors for the consultancy market. 

The battle will shift to which company delivers well-written, highly-optimized, and engaging content on a consistent basis. Which Consultancy company can maintain a regular schedule for social media marketing? 

Which website is mobile responsive, faster, more accessible, navigable, more beautiful, and  offers more informative content?

Conclusion

Starting a Consulting company is a great idea. With the failure rate among small businesses at 20% for the first year, 30% for the third year, and 50% by the fifth year, there will always be a steady demand for your type of services. 

Business owners will rely upon your experience and expertise to help them navigate through rough economic times, survive, then thrive beyond year 5. 

To get discovered by these businesses, you should have a strong online presence and that all begins with having an amazing website. 

If your business does not have a website or if it does but you’re not happy with it, give us a call or drop an email. We will build you a website that delivers results.

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community!

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Before we dive into ecommerce landing pages in more detail, I would like us to do a brief experiment.

I’d like you to try and think about all the websites you’ve seen today. Or in the past seven days. How many newsletters did you receive? How many did you open, and how many did you click on?

Can’t remember them all?

Given the sheer volume of pages we are all exposed to every day, it’s no wonder we can only remember a tiny percent of them. This fact should drive my point home nicely – if you want your landing page to stand out and be memorable, you need to make it, well – what is it that you need to do?

Let’s explore!

Divulge the benefits

As ecommerce pages are clearly meant to convince a visitor to make a purchase, finding the right balance between sales and value can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare.

Let’s look at this page by Herbal Dynamics Beauty:

Source: herbaldynamicsbeauty.com

The hero part of the page clearly lists the most important feature: that the product is free of all sorts of harmful materials. Then, when you scroll just a bit down, you are greeted with a whole lot of information about the benefits of each ingredient, and the page ends by going into even more detail, explaining what you, as a consumer might get by choosing this product.

Customers don’t want to feel like they are being sold a product – they want to be offered a solution. By explaining the benefits and actual value of a product, you will be doing a great job at just that.

The power of design

Your pages need to be easy on the eyes and structured in a way that not only attracts attention, but is also very clear about what is what.

Here is an example by Ultimate Meal Plans:

Souce: ultimatemealplans.com

While their landing pages stick to the minimalistic use of plenty of white space, they have also integrated plenty of imagery, along with all kinds of informational boxes that detail things like pricing and benefits. 

And while they were at it, they’ve managed to stick to a clever color story, too. The fact that they have also made green their main pop of color is evocative of the actual product, providing a clear association between it and the page.

No matter how good your product or message is, if your page is cluttered and hard to navigate, you won’t be making all that many conversions. 

The power of a story

Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool you should be reaching for when writing copy for your landing pages.

Let’s take a look at the landing page of an actual story, Danielle, a novel by Ray Kurzweil.

Source: danielleworld.com

The hero is catchy, gives you plenty of information without actually giving anything away, and the rest of the page provides all you need to know: enough to get you interested. This kind of hook is not reserved for literary ecommerce pages alone – you can tell a story about your product regardless of what it is.

Make sure you take your target audience and their preferences into account when writing out your story. And write for them, not for yourself.

Provide plenty of detail

Home pages can be hard to design. Not only are they often the first thing people see, but they also need to provide plenty of information, yet not overlap too much with other pages.

Pergola Kits USA have done a good job here:

Source: pergolakitsusa.com

Their hero showcases the product they sell and will instantly draw the attention of those looking to buy a pergola. Scrolling further down, a visitor can find all the information they need in one place, without having to navigate between several different pages.

This is an all-in-one page that is easy to read, provides enough imagery to keep you interested, and provides real value. You won’t need to read another one to understand what kind of product you need for yourself.

Sometimes it’s best to give your visitors what they are looking for in one place – and make sure they have clearly got the message you’re trying to convey.

Social and other proof and why it matters

People like to be a part of a group, and they like to explore products others have tested and approved. That’s why you’ll want to display all the proof you can find: social proof in the form of testimonials, big companies you have worked with, as well as award buttons, and any other achievements you may have under your belt.

Real Thread does that right in the middle of their homepage:

Source: realthread.com

They have incorporated a section that includes some of the major companies they have worked with. This instantly gives their product a boost and makes them stand out. Even though you may not have heard of the brand, you might be more tempted to give their shirts a try, now that you know which other companies they have worked with.

Be careful what kinds of awards and badges you list, though. Too many of them can cause an adverse effect, leading people to perceive you as bragging or to wonder what you’re trying to hide by listing all of these positive reviews so prominently.

The power of the hero

Your hero image is incredibly important. It should explain in one glance what the product is about, yet do it in a way that’s not boring or too showy.

The Farmer’s Dog does a good job with this image:

Source: thefarmersdog.com

It shows the product, as well as a satisfied customer enjoying it, and you’ll understand right away what the food they’re selling looks like and whether it might be something that your pet would enjoy.

The image is of a high quality, but more importantly, it is also optimized well, so as not to slow the page down and take up unnecessary space – a very important feature to bear in mind when thinking about the imagery you want to use.

When choosing your hero, make sure it is not only an accurate representation of your product, but also catchy and unique.

Final thoughts

When designing a landing page, make sure you have your target audience in mind, and stay in line with the product the page is trying to sell. Add to that a bit of creativity, and you should have a standout page on your hands. 

To get straight to the point – Yes, you should include social media as part of your digital marketing strategy in 2020. 

Over the last decade, social media has evolved from a platform for connecting with social circles and sharing daily updates to a powerful medium for influencing choices with the targeted distribution of optimized content, the active promotion of thought leadership, and purposeful engagement with the community. 

Thus, social media is an effective medium for sharing content. It is a proven platform for building your business’ brand and reputation, promoting products and services, and creating strong and sustainable relationships with your customers.

If social media was part of your digital marketing strategy in 2019, read on! The tips we provide will make your 2020 strategies more relevant, effective, and impactful. 

And if you haven’t included social media in your digital marketing strategy, it’s not too late! 2020 is as good a time as any to start your first campaign. 

Why 2020 Is A Good Time To Launch Your First Social Media Campaign

In 2019, there were an estimated 3.484 billion social media users worldwide – a 9% increase from 2018. 

The increase in the number of social media users goes hand-in-hand with the number of Internet users. The more accessible the Internet becomes, the more people will venture to social media.

In 2018, the Internet was accessible to 3 billion people. In 2019, the number of people on the Internet was estimated to be 4.4 billion people. 

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the growth of the Internet will slowly catch up with the growth of the population. 

The group forecasts that by 2021, 75% or 6 billion of the projected population of 8 billion people will have Internet access. By 2030, 90% or 7.5 billion out of an estimated 8.5 billion people will be online. 

Based on these trends, we can reasonably expect that as the population grows, so will the number of social media users. 

If you are still thinking of including social media in your digital marketing strategy, remove your “thinking” cap and put on your “working” cap. It’s time to get social!

7 Social Media Trends To Watch Out For In 2020

Social media is in a constant state of evolution because people’s interests, tastes, and preferences are always changing. The strategies that produced results last year may no longer be effective in 2020.

Here are 7 social media trends that could shape your digital marketing strategy in 2020.

1. Less Focus on Getting People to “Like” Your Content

Social media is no longer just a platform where the objective of posting content is to generate the highest number of “likes”. 

Getting a “like” will do wonders for your ego but very little – or nothing at all – for your business. It could just be a sympathetic gesture from friends who want you to feel good. But clicking the “like” button does not mean people like your content. 

People are looking for content that has value. They want content that addresses a specific need, compels opinions and ideas to be shared and helps members of the community arrive at the best decisions. 

For this reason, social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter are putting less emphasis on “vanity metrics’ – like the “like” button and the number of followers. 

Digital marketers feel that the pressure to garner “likes” only succeeds in affecting the person’s mental health and does little to strengthen the brand or put the product at the forefront of the consumer’s consciousness.

Instead, the focus should be on the quality of content and the rate of community engagement. 

What good would it do your business if you have 1,000 followers but only 10 members regularly engage with your content? On the other hand, your page could have only 100 followers but 50 of them could be actively engaging with each other in your posts. 

2. Video Content Will Be King

Bill Gates once famously wrote, “Content is King”. Today, the billionaire-founder of Microsoft would willingly amend his statement as “Video Content will be King”.

A 2019 study that was published by Social Media Week revealed the following eye-opening numbers about the future of video content marketing:

  • 82% of all online traffic will be composed of video-based content.
  • 78% of daily Internet users spend their time watching videos.
  • 72% of consumers prefer video as the medium for learning about a company’s products and services.
  • 95% of consumers retain information better with videos.
  • 54% of consumers want more video-based content.

Video marketing is an effective driver of content because it appeals to the senses of sight, sound, and can potentially trigger powerful emotions that can compel the audience to comply with your call-to-action. 

Today’s smartphones have cameras that can capture good quality videos. Start a YouTube channel for your business and upload video content about your products and services. 

How do they work? What problems or issues can they fix? You can also post videos about your personal life to give the audience an idea of who you are and what you do outside of work. 

At Mountaintop, we recommend having an explainer video made. You can post it on YouTube then embed the link on the homepage of your website. An explainer video will get more people to stay on your website and check out your products and services.

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3. Social Media Audience Segmentation Will Play a Bigger Role

Social media gives you the advantage of targeting consumers who may be interested in your products and services. Even if you’ve acquired a good-sized following, they remain part of a community – your social media community. They followed you for a reason.

People follow you for different reasons. Yes, most will probably follow you because they are fans of your business. They love your products and want to stay updated on future developments.

There could be those who followed you not for the products you are selling, but for the tips you provide in your blogs. Maybe they are not interested in your products but they value the insights you provide in the industry. 

Keeping track of who engages in your content; the ones who ”like” or share your blogs, and reading through the discussions in your posts can give you valuable insights on the market segments you are attracting.

You can use social media analytics to give you key data on the types of content that are generating the highest levels of activity on your page. Take note of who they are, where they are coming from, and how they are accessing your content. 

Use data to create specific buyer profiles of your customers. Having data-backed information will help you customize the types of content that will target specific market segments. 

4. The Continued Rise of Social Shopping

If you’re a retailer, having an e-commerce website is a key component in maximizing online opportunities. The website is where interested parties go to view your product and transact with your company.

On the other hand, social media platforms have become effective in generating inbound traffic to your e-commerce website. 

Research has shown that social media has significantly contributed to the growth of e-commerce in the United States in the last decade. 

Posting images and information about your product on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest has been proven effective in influencing the buying decisions of consumers.

Publishing blogs on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google Plus about your business, industry insights, opinions on current trends, and providing useful tips that solve common problems will do wonders for your online reputation as a valuable resource. 

To get people to visit your website, always include a link with your call-to-action in your blogs and other types of content. 

5. Public Sharing Will Give Way to a More Personalized Approach

Privacy remains an issue on the Internet. Other than the constant threat of cyber-attacks, you want to manage the risk factors that you can control. When engaging in social media, it’s a good idea to take full control over your personal information. 

Concern over the security and integrity of personal information is one of the major factors that have contributed to the popularity of messaging apps such as Messenger. 

For example, if a follower of your Facebook page asks for details about the price of your product and preferred mode of payment, you can just send the person the information via Messenger. 

Another example is dealing with customer complaints. 

If a customer posts a complaint on your Facebook page, you can shift the discussion from the public thread to Messenger. This is a great way to manage your online reputation and at the same time personalize the approach for your customer. 

6. Greater Dependency on Authentic Content

The Internet is rife with online merchants offering a wide variety of products and services. Unfortunately, you take the good with the bad. 

While there are e-commerce websites that you can trust, the Internet has its fair share of businesses that have malicious intent as their primary objective. 

Also, there are businesses with the “take it or leave it” mentality. They only care about the sale – not the customer.

In a sense, social media has tipped the balance of power toward the consumer because it has given him a platform to air his opinions about a business. It has given consumers a valuable resource for getting information on a product or service before making the decision to patronize the business or not. 

Think about your own experiences. If you liked your dining experience at a particular Italian restaurant, wouldn’t you take pictures of the food you ate and post it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?  

In contrast, if you had a rough encounter with the customer service people of a telecommunications company, wouldn’t you post about the incident on Facebook or LinkedIn?

Powerful emotions compel people to write reviews about a product or a service. This is why consumers value them. They are content that is perceived as sincere and driven by purpose and therefore, authentic. 

Invite your followers to post reviews and comments about your products and services on your social media pages. 

Your willingness to leave your business vulnerable to the risk of getting scathing reviews shows your confidence in your offerings. We will continue the discussion in the next section!

7. Social Media Builds Meaningful Relationships

For businesses, product reviews and other types of customer-generated content are a win-win situation. Yes, getting bad reviews can be good for you!

In the first place, there is no such thing as a perfect product. Consumers have different tastes and preferences. 

Perfect service is the goal but it is not realistic to expect it 100% of the time because people are human and there are days that they can be off their customer service game.

If you get a negative review, don’t ignore it. Act on it right away! Use it as an opportunity to show your other followers that you care by addressing the issue directly on the thread.

For example, a customer named Matt posted a complaint on your Facebook page that the Wi-Fi router he bought from you did not last 2 days. 

A good response would be:

“Hi, Matt! Thank you for calling our attention to the router. We are sorry about your experience. I am Roger and I handle technical support. I just messaged you my email address and contact number. Kindly email the details and let’s schedule a phone call over the next 24 hours. Rest assured, we are committed to making you a customer for life!”

When you respond to a comment, it will not matter if the customer is irate. For sure, he will appreciate your immediate attention and timely response to his concern. 

And if the customer is happy, an appropriate response will show that you value the relationship and not just the business. 

Conclusion

The “social” aspect of social media refers to its dynamic nature. As people change, so do their online behavioral patterns. You have to keep track of these changes in behavior and apply your findings to your strategy so you can stay ahead of the competition.

Social media will remain relevant, useful, and valuable in 2020 and beyond because it gives your business more than just an online presence. 

Social media humanizes your business. It creates bridges that connect you with your customers, followers, and potential end-users. 

In combination with a thoughtful, purposeful, and engaging content marketing strategy, social media will give your business a personality that consumers can connect to and develop a strong, long-lasting relationship with. 

For consumers, it’s not just about “What” your business is – it’s about “Who” your business is. 

Let us help you get back on track with your social media program! 

Give us a call or drop us an email. We can design a smart, data-based digital marketing strategy for your business that will optimize our content-driven social media marketing campaign. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community!

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Whenever you read the news, you will come across reports about the economy – how the stock market is performing and data on jobs, unemployment, and currency exchange. You will read terms such as “Gross Domestic Product”, “recession”, and “trade balance”. 

For the past few months, the news has given massive coverage on the trade war launched by the United States against China and how it has impacted the bottom line of many U.S. companies in the manufacturing and agricultural sector.

Certainly, these types of news are disconcerting because when companies are in trouble, jobs and consequently, the livelihood and well-being of many families are on the line. 

Thus, in a world that has become increasingly concerned about profit, the idea of a non-profit organization must leave some people scratching their heads. 

What Is A Non-Profit Organization?

By definition, a non-profit organization is an entity that does not funnel its earnings to stockholders or investors. The majority of non-profit organizations are not connected with the government and are private entities. 

However, instead of paying out dividends to its stockholders, a non-profit organization appropriates its income to help the group achieve its goals which are usually philanthropic in nature. 

A non-profit organization can support a variety of causes. Some of the most popular ones include endangered species, preserving the arts, social reform programs, protecting the environment, education, and literacy. 

What Are The Challenges Facing Non-Profit Organizations?

Spearheading a non-profit organization can be a daunting task. With information flowing freely – thanks to the Internet and the advances in digital technology – decisions are more easily influenced by data that is available on the web.

Similar to profit organizations, non-profit organizations face several challenges that may obstruct their efforts to achieve their goals and objectives.

We have identified 3 challenges that non-profit organizations have to contend with in the coming years:

  1. Government Regulations – Changes in government regulations and tax reform laws may affect the decisions of individuals to contribute as well as hinder the ability of non-profit organizations to invoice for their services and generate more funding.
  2. Hiring Volunteers and Recruiting Staff – An increase in the number of jobs available in the market in combination with an upward adjustment in the wage rate has made it more difficult for non-profit organizations to hire and recruit volunteers needed to attend to its various duties and responsibilities. 
  3. Lack of Technological Support – With the decline in available funding, non-profit organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to avail of and utilize technology needed to further its growth and open new avenues for financial support. 

Mountaintop Web Design is not an interest group and neither are we in the recruitment business.

However, we are in the technology business. We understand how digital innovations and the Internet can be utilized to help non-profit organizations meet their goals. 

How Can Non-Profit Organizations Benefit From Digital Marketing?

If you want to know how digital marketing benefits small businesses, please read our blog, “5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need To Invest In A Digital Marketing Strategy”.

The truth is, a non-profit organization also reaps the same benefits from incorporating a digital marketing strategy as a profit organization. 

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1. Low-Cost Method Of Promoting the Organization’s Objectives

Digital marketing is the process of utilizing digital technology – various online tools and platforms – to market and promote a business, it’s products and services. The process is run via online channels foremost of which is the website. 

For the reason that the world is becoming more technology-dependent, all businesses, whether profit or non-profit, should have a website. Here’s a statistic that you should keep in mind:

Of the 7.7 Billion people on our planet, 4.3 Billion are on the Internet every single day. That number accounts for 55.6% of the world’s total population.

If your business is not on the Internet, how would potential customers – or donors – find you? The website is your business address on the Internet. 

The cost of putting up a website will depend on the type, functionality, and design features. At Mountaintop, we can customize a fully-functional, mobile responsive website that will meet your needs and budget.

And if you wish, you can build your own website by using a free design template from WordPress. We have written about it in our blog, “How To Build Your Own Website In 4 Easy Steps”.

Another effective channel for digital marketing is social media. According to a study by Sprout Social, 74% of consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media content. 

Of the 4.3 billion people on the Internet on a daily basis, more than 3 billion are on social media. Facebook accounts for 2.2 billion of social media’s daily traffic

Setting up a social media account for your non-profit organization will not cost you a cent. There are many social media platforms to choose from – Facebook,  Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube – are the popular ones and have large communities. 

You can choose 2 to 3 social media platforms to post content on a regular basis. With time and by creating useful, engaging, and compelling content, you should see more traffic driven to your website.

2. The Non-Profit Group Becomes Available 24/7

Unlike a shopping mall or a commercial building, the Internet does not close down or take holiday breaks. It is open 24/7.

When you have a website and social media accounts on the Internet, your non-profit organization becomes available 24/7.

  • Potential donors can read about your charitable cause; its purpose, vision, and organizational goals.
  • The use of compelling content delivered through regular blogs and video links are strong influencers which can immediately convert interest into donations.
  • If the site visitor wants to make a contribution, we can integrate a donation system that will easily facilitate the payment.

3. Measure Performance In Real-Time

One of the great advantages of using digital marketing is that you can track its performance in real-time by accessing data known as analytics.

Analytics will provide you key information on your current digital marketing strategy. You will have empirical evidence that will identify the processes which are delivering good ROI. 

Likewise, Analytics will point out the processes that are not delivering results. By determining the processes which result in ROI and those which are not, you can fine-tune the strategy. 

Thus, you can adjust the budget and allocate more resources to high-return processes. By using analytics as a reference tool to manage your budget, your overall digital marketing strategy should deliver higher ROI. 

4. Adapt to Changes In Consumer Behavior

Blogging and social media marketing are platforms that allow your followers to directly engage with you. Some will post comments related to the content you posted. 

Our advice is to respond to these commenters right away – within 24 hours if possible. The reason is these comments are valuable data. They provide keen insights on how your audience thinks, behaves, and processes information. 

When you respond, you create a feedback system between your non-profit organization and the commenter. 

The feedback system will establish communication which can eventually lead to an important component of business development: Relationship building. 

Building a solid market base of end-users and regular patrons will come down to expert relationship management. 

Digital marketing will provide you with the platform, tools, and channels to build a strong following and an enhanced presence on the Internet. 

In the following section, we will discuss 2 case studies of non-profit organizations which greatly benefited from having a website designed and managed by our company.

Case Study No.1 – Severe Weather Shelter Network

Severe Weather Shelter Network is a non-profit organization which partners up with various groups and agencies to provide immediate shelter to people who are living on the streets during harsh weather conditions.

The non-profit group already had an existing website but it was not delivering the expected results. SWSN approached us to redesign the site with the objectives of increasing awareness and improving the process of making donations.

Old website

For the website redesign, we put more focus on the homepage which is the primary landing page on a website. 

You will see the group’s Brand Value Proposition (BVP) right away – “Help Us Make A Difference. Helping the homeless build a community of supporters and providing a place of refuge on freezing nights.”

The BVP is short, direct, and easy to understand. Below the BVP is the Call-to-Action (CTA) which is asking the site visitor to make a contribution through the donation system that we built into the website.

Severe Weather Shelter Network is happy with the site and have seen a large increase in the number of their donations. They have also subscribed to our Extreme WordPress Care Plans to keep their website safe from potential cyber-attacks.  

Case Study No.2: Love In The Name Of Christ

Love In The Name Of Christ is a non-profit organization that works with local churches to help transform the lives of people who were lost and had no direction or purpose through the teachings of Christ.

Similar to Severe Weather Shelter Network, Love In The Name Of Christ had an existing website. However, it had an outdated design and was not functioning very well. 

We gave it a fresher look that was aesthetically beautiful and fully-functional. The BVP on the homepage was effective; it was easy to remember and direct to the point. 

We also included a donation system to facilitate contributions faster and more convenient for donors. 

Love In The Name Of Christ also signed up with our Extreme WordPress Care Plans.

Conclusion

Digital marketing has been proven to be an effective way of helping non-profits achieve their goals. 

Whether you are a profit or non-profit organization, you need to have a strong presence on the Internet. 

Having a website in combination with the right digital marketing tools and processes will help spread the message of non-profit organizations while effectively addressing the challenges they face.

If you are a non-profit organization that is thinking of putting up a website or having your existing one redesigned, please give us a call or drop us an email. 

You can consult with us for free. 

Coffee’s on us!

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Investing in a website is a smart first step to building a profitable business. In fact, you are already several steps ahead of the 45% of businesses that still don’t have a website. 

Now that you have taken the first step, what is the next step?

If you are not sure how to use a website to make your business profitable, you are not alone. 

One reason why 45% of small businesses still don’t have a website is that the owners are not sure what it does and how it works to contribute to profitability. 

The truth is, running a small business website is not that difficult or complicated. Yes, there is a learning curve to overcome and it will take some time before you can see the fruits of your labor. 

However, with patience and diligence, your website can become a profit-generating machine for your business. 

So what is the next step? Read the article and find out how to use your website to make your business profitable.

Why Your Website Is The Most Powerful Marketing Tool For Your Business

Unlike a brick-and-mortar business, your website is open 24/7. It can be accessed by millions – even by billions – of people who are on the Internet every day. 

Can you imagine owning a retail store that is open 24/7? You can have sales transactions every hour! People will be buying after close-of-business hours and keep your cash registers ringing. 

This is possible with an online retail or e-commerce store. Your customers will simply click on your URL or website address, land on your homepage, read through your product list, then pay for the transaction at the checkout counter. 

Through it all, you could be playing catch with your son, watching your daughter’s piano recital, having a glass of red wine with the spouse, or in the REM stage of a good night’s sleep. 

Sounds too good to be true?

Well, it’s not! 

There are many online entrepreneurs who are reaping the success of running a profitable Internet-based business.  

These online entrepreneurs are not exceptions to the rule. Anyone can have a dynamic website that helps the business earn considerable income and become highly profitable. 

The key is to learn how to harness the power of your website so you can maximize the opportunities that can be found on the Internet.

1. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Responsive

We have written a good number of articles on the importance of having a mobile responsive website. 

We did not stop there. 

In our other articles on digital marketing and website design, mobile responsive is always mentioned.

Here are 4 statistics-backed reasons why your website should be mobile responsive:

Having a website is a start but complete the project by making sure it is highly mobile responsive. By this, we mean that your website should have no problem setting up on the screen of a mobile device regardless of screen size. 

If your website is not mobile responsive, you will lose business. Worse, not having a mobile responsive website can even prove to be damaging to your business. 

Imagine clicking on a website from your smartphone and having to zoom-in and manually adjust the position of the page on your screen just to be able to read the content. 

You will probably click out of the website.

Coincidentally, that is what your prospective customer will do if your website is not mobile responsive.

2. Optimize Your Website

We have come across websites that are beautiful. They look elegant and the content on the site is very well-written.

Unfortunately, according to the websites’ analytics, very few people have seen them. 

The website cannot be seen because they cannot be found. They cannot be found because the websites are not optimized.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of using techniques and processes that will increase the search visibility of your website on the Internet. 

Without SEO, it does not matter if your website homepage looks like it should be on the Louvre Museum in Paris, France or if the content reads like it was written by Leo Tolstoy.

Hardly anyone will find it unless you have it optimized.

Here are 4 areas that you should look into to have your website optimized for easy search.

  • Keyword Research – Keywords are the most-often used words or phrases when someone launches a search query. Having your website content embedded with the right keywords will make it easier for the search engine crawlers to index your page.
  • Site Navigability – The navigability of a page plays an important factor in User Experience of which Google is big on. If you want your website to convert, you must make it easy for the visitor to use. If the visitor feels like he is trapped in a labyrinth, he will just click out.
  • Meta and Title Tags – Meta and Title tags are the responsibility of the web developer. These are descriptions of your website that are included in its code. Title tags describe what your website is all about and can be seen on the results page. Meta tags are hidden within the code but are used to validate the type of website that you have. 
  • Site Speed – Although it takes 8.66 seconds to download the top ranking websites in Google, Internet searchers still expect a website to download in 3 seconds or less. 53% of users will leave a website if it does not download in under 3 seconds. 

3. Focus On Your Website Homepage

An argument can be made that the Homepage is the most important page on your website. This is because is the page where a visitor will land after he clicks on your URL. 

Having an effective website homepage means having one that is efficient – it should get the job done in no more than 6 seconds. 

If the site visitor does not see anything useful, relevant, and compelling on your website within 6 seconds, he will click out.

What then makes an efficient website homepage?

  • Less Is More – Have you come across a website that has so many things happening on the homepage? There is so much text. The homepage copy feels like reading a long-form blog. 

Likewise, there are too many images and it seems that the color choices were made without thought or purpose. 

When designing a homepage, the rule is less is more. Too much activity on the homepage will only serve to distract the site user not help him find what he is looking for.

  • What Is Your Brand Value Proposition (BVP)? – The Brand Value Proposition or BVP is a statement that tells site visitors what your business can do for them. The BVP is the most important statement on your homepage and perhaps on your entire website. As mentioned, you only have fewer than 6 seconds to catch the interest of the site visitor. This is where the BVP comes in. It must be short, direct-to-the-point, and easily understood. 
  • How Compelling Is Your Call-To-Action (CTA)? – The Call-To-Action (CTA) tells the site visitor what you want him to do. To be effective the CTA must be direct-to-the-point. It should state urgency and the importance of acquiring your products and services right now.

You can make your homepage more compelling by adding testimonies or explainer videos. However, from both a design and functional perspective, less is more. 

We recommend prioritizing the BVO and coming up with an effective CTA. From there, you could consider a slide featuring testimonies from actual clients or customers. 

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4. Blog Actively

People spend 23% of their time online reading blogs. 

That statement should be enough to emphasize our point on the importance of blogging actively for your business. 

However, before you blog actively, it would be best to understand what makes a blog effective.

Blogging is not as simple as writing about a topic you like or specialize in. We have clients who are experts in their field. They create blogs that are packed with information acquired from the years invested in the industry.

Yet, hardly anyone reads them. So, they get discouraged from blogging. By doing so, they fail to realize the benefits of blogging. 

There are 2 reasons why their blogs do not gain traction and fail to deliver the desired results:

  • The blogs are not optimized for search.
  • The blogs are not written for the audience.

Blogging is not the same as writing a college term paper or a piece on a broadsheet. It combines the creativity of writing and the precision of digital technology. 

Yes, you need a good writer who can create compelling pieces that are free of spelling and grammatical errors. However, these must be optimized so that the blogs can be searched and found on the Internet. 

Optimizing a blog involves a number of processes, some of which we will discuss here:

  • Keywords – We mentioned the importance of keywords in optimizing a website. The same can be said for your blogs. In order to be found your blog should contain the most-searched keywords in your industry. Therefore, in addition to topic research, your content creation strategy should include keyword research.
  • Structure – Do you find reading a thickly-worded paragraph a pleasant experience? Not many people do. Too many sentences in a paragraph can turn reading into a tedious experience. To improve readability, the paragraphs should only contain 3-4 sentences. Consequently, each sentence should have no more than 40 words. Ideally, 20-25 words per sentence are best for optimization purposes. 
  • Content – An effective blog should have content that is fresh or unique, relevant, useful, informative, and compelling. It doesn’t matter if you have the best keywords in the right density. If your content does not meet the criteria, it will not be read.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of blogging. However, you need to have blogging done right.

We have published several blogs that have been recognized as among the best in the digital marketing industry. If you need help in blogging, we are the agency to go to!

5. Stay Active Online

The best way to stay top-of-mind on the Internet is to stay active online. 

Let us go back to blogging. 

According to research, you should blog at least 11 times per month in order to achieve the best results in sales conversions and website traffic.

What is the ideal length of a blog post for SEO purposes? According to a study by Search Engine Journal, your blogs should average 1,900 words. 

That is a lot of writing per week!

Then, you have to publish the blogs on various online channels such as social media, blogging communities, and of course, your own website. 

That is a lot of work!

However, you have the option of outsourcing these tasks to third-party agencies such as Mountaintop Web Design. This way, you can free up your time to focus on activities that are directly involved with your business. 

The bottom line is that in order to stay relevant, you have to maintain an active presence online through blogging and frequent posting of content.

6. Fortify Site Security

Last July 2018, search engine giant Google started flagging websites without SSL certificates as “Not Secure”. 

Having your website labeled as “Not Secure” by the Internet’s biggest search engine is enough to drive away interest from your business. 

Google decided to impose SSL certificates to all websites because of the growing threat of cyber-security. As you well know, Google is big on User Experience. 

You can learn more about SSL certificates and their importance for maintaining security for your website in our article “SSL Basics: Why You Need It To Protect Your Website From Hackers”.

Encourage site visitors to enter your website by securing it with SSL certificates. It is very easy to get SSL certificates and they will help protect your data from being stolen by cyber-criminals. 

Conclusion

The website is more than just a business address on the Internet. It is your digital hub online where all transactions take place. Because of your website, your products and services can be accessed by a wider audience. It will give you the platform to build your reputation as a reliable resource in the industry.

Once your website goes live, it allows you to capitalize on the opportunities on the Internet that can make your business profitable. 

However, a website will not run on its own.

You have to institute processes and techniques that are designed to drive traffic to your website. If done properly, these processes and techniques – such as the ones discussed in this article – will deliver results and make your business very profitable.

If you like this article, please feel free to share it in your community. And if you want to learn more about our services, let’s discuss it over your favorite brew!

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Once considered an “outdated” form of marketing, email continues to prove itself time and time again as an effective and reliable channel. Email marketing can help businesses acquire 40 times more customers than social media. A B2B audience, in particular, ranks email as the third most influential resource of information after thought leaders and colleague word-of-mouth.

This is why consistent investment into email content should be standard for a well-rounded digital marketing strategy. Newsletters are one of the simplest ways to keep your brand on subscribers’ radars and continuously build stronger engagement.

What constitutes a newsletter? A newsletter is an email sent (most likely at a regular schedule) informing subscribers of relevant business updates. Content varies from customer-focused information such as activity reminders or new product releases to business-focused brand news.

Here are five elements to pay attention to when constructing a perfect newsletter.

1. First Impressions

Due to the importance of high open rates, first impressions are extremely important in email marketing. Open rates are the percentage of emails opened in comparison to the total volume you’ve sent. It’s a standard benchmark to measure and it affects campaign performance—after all, subscribers who don’t open what you send can’t engage with the content in your newsletters.

This is why to hit or move beyond the average email open rate of 17.92%, you need to pay attention to:

  • The email address you send campaigns from

Misrepresenting who you are by listing a vague email address risks having your mail sorted into the spam folder by email providers. This may be a violation of the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Act, which requires you to clearly state who you are in your emails. 

  • The text preview, or header and first few lines

Some browser extensions provide a snapshot preview of the contents of an email when they arrive. Take extra care in writing the first few lines or choosing the first image.

  • The short phrase in your subject line

Subject lines are best kept short, clear, and inviting. The average recommended length is 35-50 characters—any more than this and email providers clip them short.

2. Copy

Which would you rather read from start to finish? A message that looks like it was copied and pasted and mass sent to everyone or something that uses your first name and looks crafted to appeal to your interests?

Personalization is the name of the game when it comes to the written content of your emails. 60% of marketers say data that provides contextual signals like location or weather is highly effective. Plus, personalization can improve conversion rates by 6%. Create different options for different customers, with newsletter content that varies according to the interests of each list segment.

In addition to the types of content you send, mind your writing style. Using online communication means you have to write for the web. That means:

  • Shorter paragraphs and sentences
  • Minimal jargon
  • Focus on a single audience per newsletter
  • Aim for a single goal to minimize distractions.

3. Layout

More than half of all emails are now opened on a mobile device, so the first thing to consider when laying out content is whether it’ll look good when read via smartphone. After that, you want to structure emails to present a natural flow of information, with images and text complementing each other to eventually lead towards a call-to-action.

Here are three email design layouts you can use.

  • One column – A simple layout designed to work on both desktop and mobile, only coded to be mobile-first. They usually adapt and scale, and contain bite-sized information to help users navigate easier.
  • Inverted pyramid – Begin with a large, engaging image. Follow it up with a value proposition that clearly communicates the benefits of reading, insert the rest of your content, and end with your CTA.
  • Zigzag – An angular design grid using color-blocking and tilted imagery acts as a guide pushing the reader towards the end of the email.

Source: Campaign Monitor

4. Images

Go big or go home? It isn’t that simple. With changes in screen width, diversification of devices and resolutions, and consumer browsing habits, finding the ideal image size isn’t as straightforward as before. While desktop and laptop resolutions have become larger and sharper, more emails are being opened on smaller mobile devices. Responsiveness is key.

A safe size for your larger images, though? The best width for your newsletter images is still 600px wide, making the legacy of Microsoft Outlook live on. However, you can go wider if you keep central visual elements in the middle and use the rest of the space for the background instead.

When choosing content to accompany each part of your newsletter content, such as company updates or product recommendations, think of social proof and lifestyle. You want your audience to see themselves in your content, not alienate them. For example, if subscribers are older, you won’t want to use images with teenagers or a different age demographic.

5. Calls to Action

A good call to action button improves click-through rates and assists in conversions. And yes, they aren’t just links included within your email body, they’re individual buttons positioned right where your reader can see them.

Call to action buttons normally don’t have much variation, but there’s a good reason for that. These buttons are already an established bit of web design and automatically register in viewers’ minds as clickable, so deviating from that consistency will cause confusion. What you need to do is make sure the text on them is clear and actionable, that they’re visible on the page, and that they look inviting.

You can place them near the end of your newsletter or beside each segment of content referring to it, such as in the case of news collections and product catalogs. You need at least one—or else, why are you sending newsletters at all?

Final Thoughts

Newsletters are simpler in scope than emails built to support a special campaign. However, invest the right amount of thought into their design and you can build lasting relationships with your subscribers—eventually converting them into fully paying customers.

Author Bio

Ash Salleh is the Director of SEO at Campaign Monitor, where he works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimization. Prior to his time at Campaign Monitor, he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital.

2018 was a big year for PPC or Pay-Per-Click Marketing. Google Adwords was re-branded as Google Ads. The change was not all cosmetic. Google Ads was improved with new features, tools, campaign types, and targeting options.

Since branching out to the world of advertising in 2000, Google has leveraged its Internet dominance to generate a staggering US$116.3 Billion in ad revenues in 2018.

The number accounted for 85% of Google’s total revenues in the same year.

Not surprising, other companies saw the success Google had in advertising and followed suit:

  • Bing Ads revamped its offering to include new targeting capabilities, the availability of more reports plus other interesting new features.
  • Bing Ads collaborated with social media platform LinkedIn to introduce LinkedIn Profile Targeting.
  • Amazon’s aggressive push into PPC Marketing as more consumers continue to use its platform to search for more products.

Despite the challenges posed by Bing, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other PPC Marketing platforms. Google Ads remains the gold standard in the industry.

What Is PPC Marketing?

PPC Marketing is a process where the advertiser – you – pays the agency every time someone clicks on your ad.

The great thing about PPC Marketing is that your ad is placed in the sponsored results section of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

For example, you are in the business of selling remote control drones. You decided to use PPC Marketing to post ads on your latest product – remote control drones with high-resolution cameras.

Whenever someone launches a Google search query “remote control drones with high-resolution cameras”, your PPC will appear in the SERP that has all the URLs on the topic.

Thus, with PPC Marketing, the probability is high that your ad will attract a buyer who is genuinely interested in your product.

With PPC Marketing, you can be assured that your ad will be published in full view of targeted customers – those who have a strong intent to purchase your products or services.

Consequently, PPC Marketing can give your website a search ranking boost!

You can read more about PPC Marketing in our article, “SEO vs PPC: Which One Is Better For Your Business?”

The question you must be asking is “Should I invest in PPC Marketing? Will the investment be worth it?”

If you ask the good people at Google, they will tell you, “Yes! By all means, you should invest in PPC Marketing!”

Google has every reason to take a strong stand in favor of PPC Marketing. According to the search engine giant’s 2016 report, advertisers earned an average of $8 for every $1 spent on PPC Marketing.

4 Reasons Why Your PPC Marketing Campaign Is Not Delivering Results

That number should be enough to get your eyes and mouth wide open and give us a call here at Mountaintop Web Design.

However, we would like to emphasize that Google’s reported ROI on PPC Marketing is just an average. There are advertisers who fell short of their goals.

Why is your PPC Marketing campaign falling short of its targets? There are 4 factors that can have a dampening effect on your PPC Marketing campaign.

1. Choice of Keywords Is Too Broad

Similar to online content, your PPC ads have to be optimized. Thus, it is very important to have tightly-focused and precise keyword research.

The keywords that you are using in your PPC ads must match the intent of the target consumer as closely as possible. If your choice of keywords is too broad, your ad will be displayed to a wider or diverse audience many of whom may not be interested in what you are selling.

For example, you are in the business of selling specialized diesel engine pumps. If you used the keywords “Diesel Engine Pump” or “Diesel Fuel Injector Pump” in your ad, it will be placed in SERPs where prospective customers could be looking for just ordinary diesel engine pumps.

However, if you chose “Distributor Fuel Injector Pump” or “Common Rail Fuel Injector Pump”, you would be streamlining the search to consumers who have a need for these specific types of fuel injector pumps.

Thus, the chances of a prospective customer clicking onto your PPC ad will be much higher than if you opted for more generalized keywords.

2. The Message of Your PPC Ad is Disjointed

When creating a PPC ad, your copy must be aligned with the headline and the intent of your target market. Otherwise, the message of your ad will be disjointed and will not resonate with your target market.

Conceptualizing an effective PPC ad is a two-step process. First, the headline you plan to use and the content of the ad copy itself should match or correspond to the keywords you are bidding on.

Second, the message your PPC ad is conveying should provide answers or a clear-cut solution to the needs of your intended market. When a consumer runs an Internet search, he is looking for solutions that can help address a particular problem.

In order to be clicked on, your PPC ad must present itself as a potential solution to the problem or issue that is presently confounding the consumer.

3. Google Gives Your PPC Ad a Low-Quality Score

Google will review your PPC ad and determine your Quality Score or QS. Your score will depend on 2 factors: overall quality and relevance of your ad. Google measures these factors by keeping track of how many people actually click on the ad after it has been displayed on the SERPs.

Essentially, a lower QS means fewer people are clicking on your ad. While Google will measure your QS, it will be up to you if want to implement changes and improve the ad so that more people will click on it.

4. Poorly Designed Website Landing Page

Getting an Internet searcher to click on your ad is one thing. Giving him the best User Experience when he gets to your website landing page is another.

What will the site visitor see when he lands on your page? Will he readily find solutions to his pain points? Will your landing page content provide the answers to his questions?

Your efforts to find a customer do not begin and end with the PPC ad. Likewise, your landing page must be optimized to help increase conversions.

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How Much Will It Cost To Run A PPC Marketing Campaign?

In our article, “How To Setup A Low Cost But Effective Digital Marketing Campaign”, we discussed the ways in which you can run a digital marketing campaign that can deliver results without breaking the bank.

PPC Marketing was not included among the best low cost strategies in the article. However, we mentioned PPC Marketing as an option that you can consider especially if you have a larger budget for marketing.

If you are thinking of including PPC Marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy, for the reasons stated at the beginning of this article, Google Ads would be the best platform to launch your ads.

Google Ads uses a bid system whereby you, the advertiser, will put in a maximum bid that you are willing to pay for every click or cost-per-click (CPC) your ad receives.

The rule is simple: the higher your bid the more advantageous the ad placement will be.

According to Google, the average CPC for advertisers in its platform is $1 to $2 on its Search network.

While this reported average CPC may seem attractive, the true cost of your PPC Marketing campaign will depend on 5 factors:

  • The competitiveness of your industry.
  • The competitiveness of the keywords.
  • Your Quality Score (QS).
  • The bid of your competitors for the keywords.
  • The quality of your competitors’ ads.

Google estimates that small and medium-scale businesses spend an average of $9,000 to $10,000 per month or $108,000 to $120,000 per year on PPC.

According to a study conducted by WebFX, the most expensive keywords come from the following industries:

  • Legal
  • Financial Services
  • Insurance
  • Retail

The financial services and insurance industry combined to spend an average of $1.2Billion in PPC ads every year. Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, averages $50 Million for PPC ads per year.

The WebEx study identified the following keywords as the most expensive:

  • San Antonio Car Wreck Attorney – $670.44
  • Accident Attorney Riverside CA – $626.90
  • Personal Injury Attorney Colorado – $553.08
  • Structure Settlements – $539.82
  • Austin Drug Rehab – $463.05

78% of the most expensive keywords pertain to the legal industry. A far second is about Water Damage at 8% and coming in third at 6% is insurance. Business Services account for only 1% of the most expensive keywords.

However, putting in the highest bid is just one part of the PPC equation if you want to get the best placement. As previously mentioned, Google will consider your QS to determine the placement position of your ad.

Your QS is calculated based on 3 factors:

  • Relevance of your ad to the keywords.
  • Click-Through-Rate or CTR which is the number of clicks your ad generates as a proportion of the number of views it gets.
  • The quality of your landing page.

Using these 3 variables, Google has come up with is Ad Rank formula:

Ad Rank Formula = (Max CPC bid) x (Your Ad’s QS)

For example, if your maximum CPC bid for a keyword is $1.00 and Google gives your ad a QS of 10, your Ad Rank will be 10.

In an auction, the advertiser who ends up with the highest Ad Rank will be awarded the top advertising spot.

Google calculates the amount the advertiser pays per click with this simple formula:

(Ad rank of the ad below yours) / (Your QS) + $0.01

From the above formula, we can see that your QS will have a big impact on the cost of your PPC Marketing campaign. You can actually spend less and still acquire the top advertising position if Google gives you a high QS.

Conclusion

Google Ads is a good PPC Marketing platform to begin with. One of the biggest advantages of using Google Ads is that it gives you 4 ways to stretch your PPC Marketing budget.

First, Google Ads has a feature that allows you to create daily budgets whereby you can allocate more money to campaigns that are focused on promoting your top selling products.

Second, you can set the time and date that you want your PPC Ad to appear. Thus, you can increase your bids only for specific hours of the week.

Third, Google Ads has an interesting feature called geotargeting which lets you set aside more funding to reach target customers in a specific geographic area such as a neighbourhood or city.

Finally, if you believe most of your customers are living the mobile lifestyle, Google Ads has a device targeting feature which lets you use some of your funding to deliver your PPC ad directly to people using a particular type of mobile device.

Is PPC Marketing worth it? The answer is “Yes” provided the following conditions are met:

  • Keyword research is highly-focused and targeted on specific, not broad or generalized keywords.
  • The message of the PPC ad copy must be clear; it must resonate with the intent of the Internet searcher and provide solutions to his concerns.
  • Likewise, the landing page of your website must be optimized and aligned with the message of your PPC ad copy. It should provide the answers the Internet searcher is looking for.

Your focus should be to come up with a PPC ad that will elicit a high QS from Google. The better your QS, the higher the probability of landing the top advertising spot. You can lower the CTC even if your max bid is not the highest.

Are you ready to add PPC Marketing to your digital marketing toolbox? Give us a call and we can set you on the right track to PPC success! We are ranked as one of the top PPC Agencies according to Design Rush.

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A website is a valuable asset to have whether you are a large corporation or a small business. If you own a brick-and-mortar business, a website makes your products and services accessible 24/7.

It gives you a platform to share your expertise and enhance your reputation as an expert in the industry. The website is your storefront window. If it is mobile-responsive, people can access your website wherever they are.

And perhaps that is the problem with most websites – it only talks about the brand, the owners, the products and services, and the company.

Of course, the website is also a way of connecting with your customers through marketing. It can build your followers, generate leads, and convert interest into paying customers.

You have to promote the business and give your visitors important information on what you can do for them.

At Mountaintop, we view the website as more than just a business asset or a marketing tool.

For us, we think of the client’s website as a medium of communication – an avenue which the client should use to connect with the most important participant in the business cycle:

The Customer.

Why You Need A Website That Speaks To Customers

Have you ever had a conversation with a person you just met and all he ever wanted to talk about was himself?

His pronouns were limited to “I”, “Me”, and “Myself”.

We bet the “Exit” sign never looked more inviting!

A conversation involves 2 or more people interacting with each other. Essentially, a conversation has 2 participants – a talker and a listener.

You cannot have a conversation if only one person is talking. There must be an exchange of ideas or opinions. A feedback mechanism must exist for the communication cycle to continue.

In business, communication is a very important quality for the following reasons:

  • Fosters strong, long-lasting relationships
  • Addresses problems, issues, and concerns in a prompt and professional manner
  • Encourages everyone in the value chain to be more involved
  • Minimizes the incidence of misunderstandings
  • Builds loyalty and trust

If you only talk about yourself, how can you establish a relationship with the person you are having a conversation with if you won’t allow him/her to be heard?

The same analogy can be applied to a business website.

If all the business website talks about is its products and services, its history, and its founders, how would it know what the customers need if it doesn’t give them the opportunity to be heard?

Yes, brand-building is important for a business. In fact, we have written an article about it  “Importance Of Having A Strong Brand”.

We recommend giving the article a quick read. It will give you a good idea of why it is important to communicate or “speak” with your customers if you want to successfully build your brand.

Essentially, your brand is a promise. When your customers see it, they know what they are going to get. It encapsulates everything about you; the attributes that best define who you are and your business.

Thus, your brand is you. If you want your brand to resonate with your customer, it should allow feedback or a response.

The customer needs to see their story on your website. It should clearly articulate the following:

  • What your business offers to customers
  • How the business can make the customer’s life better
  • What the customer needs to do in order to purchase your products or service

In short, the customer should be able to see in their story everything that your business does.

The “About Us” page? It does not have to be about you.

The Home Page? The value proposition should not just speak of the brand. It should speak to the customer.

There are other ways to open up the communication channels of your website to your customers. By doing so, you will have a website that sells to customers.

1. Turn the “About Us” Page Into the “About You” Page

The About Us page is used to share information about the founders of the company; its main decision-makers and top managers. It reads like a Bio.

You will find information such as where they graduated from, their work experience, achievements, top skills, and maybe a few details about their personal lives.

An example of an About Us page content would read as follows:

“Albert D. Johnson – Founder, Johnson Manufacturing

I graduated from Princeton University in 1988 and had my first job as Operations Manager at Cartwright and Sons Manufacturing Company. After 25 years as a paid employee, I decided to start Johnson Manufacturing. In my spare time, I enjoy walking my dogs, reading poetry, and wine tasting.”

While the bio is short and concise, how would the information help the customer?

What is the value of the shared information – Albert’s Princeton degree, his first job, the decision to start his own company, and wine tasting – to the customer?

Instead of making the About Us page about you, make it about the customer.

Show the customer why they have come to the right place – that your business understands their concerns and has the products, services, skills, and expertise to help them address their problems.

Here is how we would rewrite Albert Johnson’s About Us bio:

“Hi! I’m Albert Johnson. After 25 years in the manufacturing industry, I decided to put up Johnson Manufacturing. It was my way of addressing all the problems I saw in the companies I worked for.

At Johnson, our products go through a strict 5-tier Quality Control system so that our customers will get what they paid for – and more! We signed up partnerships with logistics and delivery companies such as Argo Transportation and Levingston Logistics to ensure prompt service for you.

Our commitment is to surpass YOUR expectations every time!”

The bio is more conversational. It speaks directly to the customer. From the founder’s own words, you know what the company is all about and how it can help you address your own needs.

2. Make Your Products and Services Page Relevant to Your Customers

The Products and Services page is one of the most popular sections on your website. Customers click on it to see what merchandise you sell or types of services you offer.

Information on product specifications, pricing, production timetable, and delivery dates are fine.

Here is an example of a write up on a running shoe:

Brand:  Thundra

Model: Trail Runner RX77

Product Specifications:

  • Made of graphene
  • Lightweight
  • Available in sizes 7 to 16

Price: $220

The information provided is standard for a running shoe. Again, the question begs to be asked:

How will the information help the customer find the shoe he needs?

Here is a better, more customer-centric write up:

Brand: Thundra

Model: Trail Runner RX77

Product Specifications:

Trail Runner RX77 was designed for runners who love running over rough trail. The shoe is made of Graphene which is the lightest material ever developed but is 200 times stronger than steel!

The RX77 weighs in at only 280gms, the lightest trail shoe on the market. It has an 8mm heel drop which helps stabilize your heels when running up and down mountains.

The shoe is designed for flat-footed runners. However, if you have an arch, Thundra can install a customized support heel for you.

Price: $220

The new and improved write up on the shoe product clearly resonates more with the customer. It contains more specific details about the shoe; its advantages, key selling points, and whom it is for.

3. Highlight Third-Party Validation

Forget celebrities. The customer is the best endorser for your products and services.

Third-party validation such as testimonies, case studies, awards and other forms of recognition are powerful tools that assure the customer that they have come to the right website.

If your business has forged partnerships with other reputable companies, it would be a good idea to include their logos on your website.

Third-party validation act as “emotional triggers”. They give customers a feeling of safety and protection.

Seeing other popular brands affiliated with your company will further encourage your customers to transact with you instead of your competitors.

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4. Contact Information Must Be Complete

How do you react when you come across a website where the contact information does not include an office address or a phone number?

Some companies don’t see the need for including an office address or a phone number because they do business exclusively online.

Customers may think otherwise. A business that does not include key information such as an office address and a phone number may appear dodgy.

If you want to foster trust with your customer, you must be transparent about your business’ information even if you run everything online. It would be a great idea to publish pictures of your office; your managers and staff.

5. Secure Your Website

We have written extensively about the importance of securing your website in our articles “Why It Is More Important To Secure Your Data In 2019” and “SSL Basics: Why You Need To Protect Your Website From Hackers”.

For the reason that hacking and other acts of cyber-criminality have been increasing in frequency, consumers have become more cautious in dealing with websites that are not secure.

In response, Google made a game-changing adjustment in its algorithm. The Internet’s largest search engine gave a search ranking boost to websites that have SSL certificates.

In contrast, websites that don’t have SSL certificates will be marked “Not Secure”. If you own a website, would you risk getting marked “Not Secure” by Google?

Getting SSL certificates for your website will offer your customers more safety and protection. Most importantly, they will feel valued by you.

If you want to get SSL certificates for your website, give us a call or an email. We provide this service to our clients. It will be one of the best decisions you can make for your website.

6. Improve User Experience

If they can’t find it, they won’t buy it.

That is a popular adage in sales. Whether you own a department store like Walmart or run an e-commerce business, navigability plays a big role in customer experience.

Your website must be easy for customers to navigate. Unlike a Walmart where a customer won’t mind perusing through multiple aisles before finding what they need, consumers’ online behavior is much different.

If your customer can’t find what he is looking for, he will click out and go to your competitor. All of this can happen within 8 seconds.

Before we make a recommendation for a redesign to our clients, we take the time to study the site’s analytics.

Specifically, we will focus on traffic and usage patterns. We look for trends and base our redesign recommendations on available data. The idea is to make the client’s website as easy to navigate as possible.

Likewise, if you have procedures, list down the process in a step-by-step format with the instructions as clear cut as possible.

What procedures are these?

  • How to order
  • How to reach customer service
  • How to file complaints

The easier it is for customers to use your website, the greater the probability of them patronizing your business.

7. Encourage Your Customers to Give Feedback

The general rule when conceptualizing a business is to create a product or service for your customer. Identify a need then come up with a product or service that provides the solution.

Therefore, it makes sense to get your customers involved in the product development process. Your product must evolve according to the changing needs of your market.

We can integrate feedback forms and email links on your website. Encourage the customer to provide feedback about your business. Don’t be afraid of negative reviews.

In business, you should not expect to please everyone. Negative reviews can help you pinpoint flaws in your products, services, and processes so you can find ways to improve on them.

8. Be Clear About Your CTAs

A Call-To-Action or CTA is an instruction to your customer: What do you want your customer to do?

Customers prefer CTAs that are clear and very definitive in what the business wants them to do. Passive CTAs such as “Learn More” and “Get Started” won’t work.

The CTA can be a powerful button on your website. However, it should come across as more decisive and definitive.

Good examples of decisive CTAs are “Buy Now” and “Sign Up For Our Newsletter”.

Conclusion

For your brand-building strategy to succeed, it should have a constant cycle of communication with your customers.

Your website gives you the platform to communicate with your customers so you can build strong, long-lasting, and productive relationships.

If you are thinking of building a website or want your current one redesigned, give us a call. We will make you a website that will clearly sell to your customers. This is one of the reasons that we are ranked as a Best Web Design Company in the US.

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Whether you are a start-up or a business that has been running for a while, people you meet will surely ask one question:

“Are you on social media?”

There is no denying the power and influence of social media. Of the 4 Billion people who are on the Internet every day, almost 3 Billion are on social media. That’s 75% of the daily Internet users and nearly 40% of the world’s total population.

If you want to build an online presence, you should be on social media.

Or do you?

Is social media the be-all and end-all of online marketing?

Is it possible to survive in a competitive industry without the benefit of social media?

Not only will you survive a competitive industry without the benefit of social media, but you may even thrive.

Is Social Media For Everyone?

If someone wants to lose weight, one of the first things he/she will probably do is take up running.

And why not? Running is a basic skill we learn growing up. It is an activity that you can do anywhere and many people have gotten great weight loss results from running.

However, running is not for everyone. If you have weak joints, running can lead to serious injuries. Likewise, using poor running technique can lead to chronic pain in your feet, knees, and lower back.

Moreover, it is not the only way to lose weight. You can swim, bike, walk, play ball, or work out in a gym.

Of course, exercise alone will not make you lose weight. You have to follow a strict, low calorie, healthy diet. A combination of exercise, diet, and good quality sleep will lead to long-term, sustainable weight loss.

The same can be said about social media. It is not for everyone and social media is not the only way to market and promote your business.

Social media has gained prominence as an online marketing strategy because every business website that writes articles about growing your business invariably has a section devoted to social media.

In fact, we have written about social media in our articles “How to Launch a $100 Digital Marketing Campaign” and “5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need to Invest in a Digital Marketing Strategy”.

Social media has become such a force of nature that you can easily get swept away by its power and influence.

Big companies such as Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Nike, and Walmart are active on social media. So are major influencers such as Neil Patel, Tim Ferris, Sir Richard Branson, and Warren Buffett.

Social media marketing is also inexpensive. Once you have created an account, you can reach out to people you know and work your way through their contacts list so you can grow your own followers.

From there, it is just a matter of posting content frequently.

Easier said than done.

7 Ways To Grow Your Business Online Besides Social Media

If you haven’t seen quantifiable results from your social media efforts, you are not alone. It takes time to grow your followers organically.

You need to put thought and purpose behind your content. After some time, you will have to use social media analytics to help you pinpoint the types of content that generate the highest levels of engagement.

And it doesn’t end there. The best way to validate your social media efforts is to convert interest into sales. That is an entirely different ballgame.

Just because everybody – or more accurately 3 Billion people – are doing it doesn’t mean that you should also.

It may not be for you.

There are other ways to grow your business online besides social media.

1. Mobile-Responsive Website

If you have a website – good. If you have a mobile responsive website – great!

It would be difficult for your online marketing efforts to bear fruit if your audience cannot access your website from a mobile device. 57% of online traffic comes from mobile devices, especially smartphones.

Mobile-responsiveness is also a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. If your website is not mobile-responsive, it will not lead to a pleasant experience for users. Google will penalize your website in the search rankings.

2. Optimize Web Content

Writing online is different from writing a college term paper. Yes, you have to check your work for spelling and grammatical errors and the content must be thoroughly researched.

However, when writing Internet-based content, you must always have optimization in mind. Optimizing content makes it easier to get found on the Internet. The fundamental component in content optimization is the use of keywords.

Keywords are the words and phrases used by people to launch a search query. When integrated into your content, keywords will make it easier for the search bots to find and index your page for the SERP.

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3. Content Marketing

A 2018 global survey conducted by Smart Insights showed 20% of marketers believed content marketing was the online process that would have the most significant impact on business.

It should be no surprise because people continually search for content on the Internet. No just any ordinary content. The material that you publish must have the following qualities:

  • Fresh, original
  • Relevant
  • Usable
  • Informative
  • Well-researched
  • Easy to read

By consistently posting quality content on your blog page, you will be able to build a solid base of followers organically. They will consider you a valuable resource in the industry and trust the quality of your content.

Include a blog page on your mobile-responsive website. Then pack it with optimized, keyword-rich, and high-quality content.

4. Integrate Chatbots

Customer service a key component of every business. Great customer service means having the needs, concerns, or issues of your followers and patrons addressed right away.

Chatbots are becoming the norm in how customers interact with websites. In one study, 15% of respondents reported that they have interacted with chatbots over the course of a year.

Chatbots are a convenient way of managing customer service. First, they give precise answers. Second, they are not affected by emotional outbursts or stressful situations. Third, chatbots do not get sick and can run 24/7.

However, if a chatbot gets stumped, make sure it can be programmed to transfer the inquiry to a human customer service agent.

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing may not be as hip or cool as social media but it may well be a more effective online marketing process than Facebook or Twitter.

Take a look at the statistics comparing email to Facebook and Twitter:

  • Number of users – Email: 2.6 Billion, Facebook: 2 Billion. Twitter: 313 Million
  • Percentage of users who check these processes first thing in the morning – Email: 58%, Facebook: 11%, Twitter: 3%
  • Percentage of people who use these processes at least twice daily – Email: 91%, Facebook: 57%, Twitter: 14%
  • Users who made a purchase because of these processes – Email: 66%, Facebook: 20%, Twitter: 6%
  • Customer Acquisition- Email: 7%, Facebook: <1%, Twitter: 0%

Lastly, email has a higher ROI at 21% versus Facebook and Twitter combined at 15%.

6. Search Engine Directories

In the old days, when someone wanted to search up a business, he/she would use the Yellow Pages telephone directory. Today, that person would use search engine directories.

And yes, the Yellow Pages can be found online. This time, YP has other search engine directories as competition. These search engine directories include Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo! Local Listing.

Having your business listed in an online directory is an effective way to get found. This is especially true for retail-type businesses.

According to Google, 80% of Americans use search engine directories to track down a business. 50% of the search has resulted in a visit to the store and 18% of those visits resulted in a sale.

You can read more about search engine directories in our article, “Why Should Retail Locations Be Listed in Search Engines”.

7. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a good strategy to use for building your brand, establishing yourself as an authority, creating natural inbound links and driving traffic to your website.

There are blog sites that allow guest writers to share content on their website. However, it is a good idea to check on the authenticity and reputation of the blog site before making your inquiry.

In the same manner that there are good guest blog networks, there are also bad guest blog networks. You will know who they are because their ground rules sound spurious.

For example, these bad guest blog networks will not allow you to edit content or remove spammy links. Also, a visit to their site will yield a “treasure trove” of poor quality content.

Conclusion

Social media is a great way to build your business online. However, it is not the only way. Also, it may not be the best way to grow your business. As you have read, there are other tools that you can use to give your business the online presence it needs.

The bottom line is, a digital marketing strategy should not be dependent on only one tool. It should utilize a good number of processes that can provide your business with different avenues to achieve its goals.

From there, you can use Analytics to determine which processes are generating good ROI and which ones aren’t. Analytics is an effective tool for fine-tuning your digital marketing campaign.

If Analytics show that your social media marketing strategy is not delivering the results, find out why. Identify the weaknesses and try to institute improvements.

If upon further analysis, the results are not to your satisfaction, do not hesitate to repurpose the resources to other processes that yield better ROI.

Hopefully, we were able to give you some level of objectivity toward social media. Yes, it is powerful and influential. However, it may not be for everyone.

The good thing is there are other tools at your disposal which can be more effective than social media.  

If you liked this article, please feel free to share it. And if you want to learn more about how digital marketing can grow your business, please do not hesitate to give us a call or an email.

Consult with us for 30 minutes free of charge!

We hope to hear from you soon.

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