The BackStory: 

Recently, I had a very interesting experience with another marketing firm and learned a lesson from them. I was trying to do the right thing by letting them know they were having an issue with the home page of their website. 

As you know if you read our articles, having issues on your website will lead to lost sales and missing out on potential customers. 

As a courtesy, I reached out via the contact form on their website and gave them a heads up that said their website home page is broken and is showing shortcodes to visitors. As a quick aside, here is an example of what a shortcode looks like: 

[shortcode that is meant for the backend of website] 

The next day I got back a reply from this agency. This was their reply: 

Do not solicit us again through our website or any other means.

Being the optimist that I am, I figured they were probably getting spammed with messages and thought I was one of them. I replied again trying to help them. Here is my reply: 

I’m not soliciting. I get those messages too from spammers. 

I was on your website and the home page was broken and showing short codes. 

(I then included a screenshot showing the error on the website)

A short while later I got the reply to my message: 

Yes, we know and our new site is in production as we speak, so don’t worry about it.  No one asked you to review our site.

Wow. Just wow. I am literally blown away at these responses. 

This is a very small marketing business based here in the United States. They claim on their website that they are here to provide customer service and take good care of their customers. 

However, in this interaction, they made it very clear they don’t care about feedback. 

I then looked at the email again and the disclaimer at the footer of EVERY email caught my attention. Here is the word for word copy of what it says: 

DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the use of email is to convey ideas and thoughts in a quick, efficient manner. It is generally considered an abbreviated, expedited form of communication.  In my case, they are sometimes short, direct and to the point without the use of pleasantries and intonations.  Please do not read more into them, make assumptions, or place any specific emotional value to them other than the point trying to be conveyed.  Any in-depth conversation or dialogue needs to take place telephonically please. Thank you.

Even Further Backstory:

I am sure you are curious now: How did I wind up on their website? 

The short answer is that I had their company website bookmarked (from a year prior) because I discovered they implemented some ADA web accessibility features well on their website. I wanted to research the solution they were using for this functionality. 

I was then curious how I heard about this company as they are geographically a long way away from where we are. 

I did some digging through our internal tech and found an answer. I first heard about this company after they visited our website and downloaded our free guide on 5 Mistakes Your Website Is Making back in September 2020. 

I had briefly replied to them at that point as it looked like we were doing similar things in different parts of the country. It is always good to network and see if you can learn from others. During a few emails, we had a pleasant conversation.

As I learned more recently, this interaction was not a good representation of their company or their culture.

The Lessons Learned:

In our article, 10 Qualities of a Professional Web Designer (this applies to all marketing), we talk about the essential qualities you should look for when working with a website designer or marketing agency.

There are a few relevant ones to this discussion:

  • Empathy – This means putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and viewing things through how they will view them. 
  • Good Listener – This means acknowledging the feedback (and ideas) other people give you and working to understand their feedback (and ideas).
  • Effective Communicator –  An effective communicator knows how to relay opposing viewpoints without discouraging or embarrassing the client

As you can see, this agency doesn’t embody any of these characteristics. 

The email responses I received from them were the exact opposite of empathy, good listening, and effective communication. 

After pondering this interaction for a while, I also started thinking more about the disclaimer that appears to be included in every email from their business. I had a few thoughts:

  • It appears from this disclaimer that they make a regular habit of sending short, rude, and unfriendly emails to their clients.
  • This is apparently so frequent and has caused so many issues for them that they decided their best option was to include a “rudeness” disclaimer at the bottom of all emails

I am not sure about you, but if I was the customer of a company that regularly sent me rude emails, I would not stick around very long, even if they were good at their work. 

Unfortunately, this is similar to the stories we have heard from many of our clients that have come to us after bad experiences with other agencies.

The interaction with this agency makes me question how effective they actually are in their marketing.

Marketing is based upon having the empathy to understand your potential customers and the problems they are experiencing. It is only after understanding your customers that you can then craft marketing messages that clearly communicate how you will solve the problem(s) that they have.

It has been proven countless times that collaboration usually results in outcomes that are better, cheaper, and more efficient than if someone tried doing this on their own. However, a core element of collaboration is communication.

If you run a small business, you likely know your customers and the problems they face better than anyone else. If you hire a marketing agency, it is important that they are able to listen to your ideas and feedback as you are the one that knows your business best. A marketer needs to have the empathy to understand not only your needs but also the needs of your customers. 

If a marketing agency will not listen to your ideas or feedback, or they cannot communicate well with you, this is a clear warning sign that you may be wasting your hard-earned money on marketing that is not working. 

It may be time to find another agency that will make the effort to understand your business, the challenges you face, and most importantly your customers. 

If you are a company that is working with an agency that is rude, ignores you, or is bad at communicating, YOU DESERVE BETTER. 

Website.Protection.CustomersSafe

Online shopping has been on an uptrend as far back as 2014. A driving force was the increased use of mobile devices to access the Internet. It became easier and more convenient to visit an eCommerce website than the popular department store. 

Then, the pandemic hit, and the need to shop online wasn’t just easy and convenient. It was safer and more practical. According to the United Nations, global eCommerce sales increased to US$26.7 trillion because of the pandemic. 

If you have an eCommerce site, you’re definitely in the right business. And if you’re planning to open a retail store online, there’s still room for growth. However, just like a brick-and-mortar store, success isn’t a given. You have to do things right to turn your eCommerce website into a money-making machine. 

In this 2-part series, we’ll share with you 10 tips you can use to keep the checkout counter of your eCommerce website busy. The first 5 will be in this article and we’ll discuss the final 5 in part 2.

The eCommerce Boom – Can You Handle The Competition?

As vaccines continue to be rolled out, more consumers will prefer to shop at an eCommerce website. If you have an online retail business, you won’t have to worry about demand. However, you have to be concerned about increased competition. 

Presently, there are an estimated 12 to 24 million eCommerce websites on the Internet catering to the needs of approximately 2 billion shoppers. It might seem that there are enough customers for every online retailer but that’s not the case. 

A shopper might have the patience to cope with the hour-long drive to the mall or the 30-minutes waiting time at the cashier’s checkout counter but he has less patience waiting for your eCommerce site to load. 

If your website doesn’t load in 15 seconds or less, he’ll click out and just go to your competitor. 

And the challenges don’t end there!

The challenges facing an eCommerce business are no different than those of a brick-and-mortar store owner. You have to keep your customers happy, stay ahead of the competition, and remain visible. If you can’t, the checkout counter of your eCommerce website won’t be ringing. 

While demand is there, you can’t be assured of good sales if your eCommerce business isn’t creating new customers and maintaining existing ones at the same time. 

We’re here to show you how it’s done!

1. Optimize Your eCommerce Website

Setting up an eCommerce website is definitely a smart move. Now, you can sell your products 24/7 and have a wider reach for your customers – if they can find you. 

Imagine entering a huge supermarket and not knowing where to get toiletries. You’ll waste so much time going from aisle to aisle. The experience could be so unpleasant that you’d probably go back to your neighborhood grocery store.

Optimizing your eCommerce website will make it easier for your customers to find you. Going back to our example, optimizing the supermarket would be having a map of the layout so that it would be easier for you to find toiletries. 

When someone makes a search inquiry about a product you carry, optimizing your eCommerce website will make it appear on the search results page, hopefully, on the first page. 

Here are a few tips on how you can optimize your eCommerce website:

  • Mobile-Responsiveness – According to Statista, mobile devices account for 54.8% of global online traffic. If your eCommerce website doesn’t set up well on mobile screens, potential buyers will click out.
  • Utilize Keywords on High-Impact Pages – Keywords are the most-used words or phrases when people launch a search query. Having high-volume keywords embedded on your high-impact pages such as the Homepage, Products, and About Us will make your website easier for the web crawlers to find.
  • Soup-Up Your Home Page – The Homepage is where potential customers land after they click on your URL. Entice visitors to stay longer and to explore your website by presenting a beautiful and functional homepage. Make sure it’s highly navigable, well organized, and uses unique images that are optimized with ALT tags.
  • Highlight Top Products – Let your visitors know what your top products are. For example, you can tag them as “Best Seller”, “No.1 for Households”, “Buyer’s Choice”, or “2020 Award Best Consumer Product”. 
  • Conduct a Technical SEO Audit – A Technical SEO audit is performed by your web developer. A typical audit would include a check for duplicate content, broken links, a website speed test, a review of the backlinks, and a review and analysis of site metrics. 

If you want a Technical SEO Audit done on your website, give us a call. We’ve done this with our clients and we can perform an audit on your eCommerce website as well.

2. Promote Your eCommerce Website via Social Media

4.48 million people are on social media and 56.8% are active on some social network on a daily basis. On average, a person spends 2 hours and 25 minutes on social media, and 40% use these platforms for work. 

If those statistics aren’t enough to convince you to promote your eCommerce site on social media, this one will:

71% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by social media.

Marketing your eCommerce through social media is a cost-effective and efficient way to generate more awareness about your business. Opening an account won’t cost you a cent and your posts can reach your target audience faster than traditional marketing channels.

What are the best ways to harness the power and reach of social media? 

  • Blog! Blog! Blog! 

First, you have to create content and one of the best forms of content marketing is blogging. However, blogging isn’t just about putting content on a word processor. 

Your blogs have to be unique, useful, informative, engaging, and compelling. Likewise, it must be optimized with the right keywords and structure to be found on the Internet. 

Blogging requires frequency. To produce the desired results, you have to blog 11 to 16 times per month. Once you have posted your blog on your website, share it on your social media accounts. 

  • Choose the Right Social Media Platforms 

You don’t have to put up 10 social media accounts to get results. Social media platforms are communities and as such these communities attract particular market segments and have their unique culture and set of behaviors. 

Choose social media platforms based on your business goals, type of industry, and target audience. 

For example, if your products are highly visual, social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest might work for you. 

If your goals are to generate leads, create awareness, enhance industry reputation, and improve customer engagement, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit would be the best choices.

  • Stay Active 

There are so many opinions and recommendations out there about the activity level you need to maintain on social media to achieve your goals. We’ll simplify it with only 2 rules:

Rule #1 – Post at least once a day. 

Rule #2 – Restrict your posting activity only from Monday to Friday.

The exception to Rule #1 would be Twitter and Pinterest where studies have shown posting up to 20 times per day produces better results. 

Likewise, the exception to Rule #2 is if your product or service is patronized even on the weekends such as food, personal training, and fashion apparel.

Tip: When posting or sharing content on social media, make sure your content has these 2 components:

One, the lead-in to your post must include your website URL. And two, make sure there’s a powerful Call-to-Action (CTA). 

For example, if you’re selling supplements, end your lead-in post with: 

“Go to www.supplementmania.com/shop/protein-powder and buy your whey protein stock NOW.”

3. Write Highly-Detailed Product Descriptions

We’re used to recommending to our readers that web copy needs to be kept short, concise, and of course, optimized to be effective because site visitors tend to have short attention spans. 

The case is different when you have a potential shopper who’s looking for a specific item to buy from a website. Like most shoppers, the eCommerce visitor wants to get more information about a product in order to validate his decision to purchase or not. 

Your eCommerce visitor will also use the available product information to compare your item with your competitors’. If your product doesn’t provide the same information as your competitor, you’ll lose the sale. 

When it comes to product descriptions, quality and quantity go hand-in-hand. Focus on giving the potential buyer as much detail as possible but make sure these details are relevant! Provide “stuff” and not “fluff”. 

To know for sure, look at how your competitors or the main players in the industry are writing their product descriptions. Take note of the information included in the descriptions – then do better! 

4. Diversify Your Product Mix

So you’re selling what you believe to be the world’s best disinfectant? No matter how many studies you cite to back your claims up, it’s not realistic to expect everyone to be interested. 

Similarly, people might be looking for other types of sanitizing solutions other than a disinfectant sprayer.

Going back to our example, in addition to the disinfectant, you can add the following items to diversify your product mix:

  • Copper Face Mask
  • Hand Sanitizing Lotion
  • Disinfectant Hand Wipes
  • Portable Cold Fogging Machine
  • Face Shield
  • Protective Gloves
  • Polymer-based Surface Disinfectant

It’s always a good idea to offer your potential customers choices in your eCommerce portal. Not only will you cater to a larger market but it will be easier to upsell. 

5. Engage Your Audience

The “social” aspect of social media marketing comes to play whenever you engage your audience. Interacting with your audience gives your business a sense of “humanness”.

You’re not just a company out to profit but an actual entity that’s accessible to people. Social media allows you to make a connection with your potential buyers. Engaging them helps build trust and create an impression that you care about your customers.

Here are a few ways you can engage your audience:

  • Respond to Comments and Messages

As the saying goes, “All comments are good comments”. 

Even if you receive a negative comment about your product, the silver lining is that the customer took the time to share his experience. Don’t take it personally. Change your perspective and view the criticism as an opportunity to win back a customer. 

Assure the complainant you’ve taken note of his situation and that you’ll get back to him with a course of action. Comments can be harsh but remain respectful at all times. Always conduct yourself in a professional manner. 

  • Offer Discounted Promotions 

If sales are only trickling in, offer your eCommerce visitors limited-time discounted promotions.

For example,  offer 25% off your flagship product or a buy one/take one promo on slow-moving items. Customers will view discounts as proof that you’re willing to take a hit on your profit margins just to get them to try your product. It’s a sign that you’re confident your product will deliver the desired results. 

  • Come Up with Contests 

Contests are a great way to generate more fun and engagement. Posting about a contest changes the dynamic of your business. It shows you’re not just selling products but you’re selling the experience of transacting with your company.

If you own a chain of burger restaurants, you can post a contest that invites followers to post a video of themselves eating your spiciest burger. The person who clocks in the fastest time gets a t-shirt. 

  • Make Recommendations  

Oftentimes, your eCommerce website will receive visitors who are unsure of what they are looking for. They are no different than customers who enter a coffee shop, look at the menu board, and decide on which type of coffee they’ll order. 

You can help them by making recommendations:

  • Have a chat support agent available during working hours.
  • In your product descriptions, include recommendations on “who this product is for”.
  • Categorize your products based on Buyer or User Profile. 

Make the shopping experience as easy and convenient as possible. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. 

  • Would you be happy with the experience of visiting your website? 
  • Can you find what you’re looking for right away?
  • Do you feel confident knowing that someone is ready to assist you? 
  • Did you spend less time making decisions because there’s enough information available to make an educated purchase?

When conceptualizing your eCommerce website, always have your buyer in mind. 

Conclusion

We hope we’ve helped you find clarity on how to generate regular business with your online store. If your eCommerce site is struggling, please know that it’s not the end of your online career! 

This is just part 1. We’ll discuss 5 more tips on how to boost the sales of your eCommerce website. 

If you can’t wait for part 2, give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll have your eCommerce store rolling out and making money right away! 

And if you know someone who has an online store or is planning to put one up, please feel free to share this article with that person.

WebsiteStandOut

Our readers who were around when newsstands and bookstores were commonplace know what it was like looking for the best publication among a sea of titles. 

Books and magazines would fight for your attention by coming up with compelling and thought-provoking tags or catchphrases. Chances are you’ll choose the one that resonates with you the most. 

In this age of the Internet, title tags serve the same purpose. But first, your content has to be found by the search bots. Optimizing your title tags will help your content get noticed by the bots and indexed as relevant for Internet searches. 

What Is A Title Tag And Why Is It Important?

A title tag is an element of HTML that establishes the title of your web page. Title tags appear on the search results page as the headline that users click on after running a search inquiry. 

Title tags are important for the following reasons:

  • Help search engines understand what your webpage is about.
  • Create an immediate impression on the user about your webpage. 
  • Encourage the user to click on your URL.
  • Enhance the manner in which your URL is displayed when shared in social media and the web browser.

Optimizing your title tags is important because users want to find answers to their search queries as fast as possible. 

9 Best Practices To Optimize Your Title Tags 

If your title tags aren’t properly optimized to be found right away, the user won’t click on your URL even if it ranks high on the SERP. 

Here are 9 best practices that will help you optimize your title tags to get the desired results. 

1. Use the Right Title Tag Format

Consider using the following formats:

  • Primary Keyword|Secondary Keyword|Brand Name
  • Primary Keyword & Secondary Keyword|Brand Name
  • Primary Keyword, Secondary Keyword – Brand Name
  • Primary Keyword- Click-through Optimization Phrase|Brand Name

These formats allow you to present short and descriptive title tags that match the average length of search queries. Use hyphens (-), colons (:), or straight pipes (|) to separate phrases and words.  

You can also use characters like ampersand (&), comma (,), period (.), plus sign (+), exclamation point (!), and question mark (?).  Using separators, characters, and punctuation will improve the readability of your title tags.

2. Be Mindful of the Length of your Title Tags

Search engines cut off long title tags by inserting ellipsis (…). Your Titles will lose their impact if they get cut midway.  To avoid title tag truncation, limit the length to 50-60 characters. 

Google also takes into consideration the pixel width of your title tags. The maximum width allowed is 600 pixels. Take note that some characters occupy more space such as wide letters and all Caps.

If your title tag is too short, search engines such as Google will use one of your headings instead.  Your title tag should have at least 30 characters or 285 pixels.

Make sure to use online pixel width checking tools to test your title tag length. Remember, keep your title tags brief, descriptive, and in sync with your page content.

3. Place The Most Important Keywords at the Beginning of Your Title Tags

Users tend to scan only the first three words of title tags so your primary keywords should be placed in their first line of sight. 

This will generate better traffic and increase click-through rates (CTR) because your title tag will immediately gain users’ interest.

Also, the right placement of the most important keywords will prevent them from getting cut off in SERPs when your title tag exceeds the length limit.  

Website.Protection.CustomersSafe

4. Come Up With Unique Titles for Each Page 

Create a unique title tag for every page on your site. Your titles should give readers a clear idea of what the page content is all about. It can be a taxing process but it leaves a positive impact on search engines.

Unique title tags for each page help search engines identify your content as fresh and valuable. Duplicating title tags will only confuse users and search engines.

Do not use auto-generated or generic title tags because search engines will assume that you have duplicate content on your website.  It will also decrease the number of clicks because this kind of title tag does not elicit interest.  

Avoid repeating targeted keywords across multiple pages on your site because your pages will go up against each other for rankings. As a result, the CTR and conversion rates of the pages with similar or the same targeted keywords will drop.

5. Go Easy on The Keywords

One of the most common SEO missteps is keyword stuffing – placing multiple keywords and variations of keywords in the title tag.  People often think that this practice will result in higher search engine rankings.

However, search engines can quickly identify different versions of keywords so it is pointless to stuff them all in your title tag. If your title tags are too crammed, search engines will cut them off or rewrite them.

6. Feature Your Brand in Your Title Tags

Including your brand in your title tag can do wonders to your CTR especially if it is already well-known. Users will click if they see a familiar brand attached to the title tag.  

Whenever you can, fit your brand in your title tag whether it’s popular or not.  Featuring your brand in your title tags is a good opportunity to establish brand recognition.  

Besides, Google recommends the inclusion of the brand name in your website’s home page title.   

We suggest that you add your brand to the end of your title tag. Remember to keep your title within the 60 characters length limit so that your brand name will not get cut off.

7. Use Action Verbs

Using action verbs is an effective method of prompting searchers to take a desired action. If you go over the SERPs, the title tags that entice clicks are the ones with action verbs.

Choose action verbs that are relevant to your page content.  For example, use “Learn” if your content aims to inform or instruct.  Use “Buy” if a new product or service awaits users.

Here are some good examples of call-to-action words you can use in your titles:

  • Access
  • Buy
  • Download
  • Discover
  • Get
  • Learn
  • Listen
  • Read
  • Search
  • Take

Keep in mind that users will be turned off if they do not find what they expect to see on your page.  

For example, if you write “free download” in your title tag, make sure that the users will be able to get it when they read your page.  If they do not see what they clicked for, they will immediately leave your site.  

8. Keep Your Target Customers in Mind 

Write for your target consumers. Think of keywords and action verbs that will draw them in. Do not discount the importance of a well-written title tag. 

If you just jumbled words without thinking of how the searchers will react to it, your click-through rate will suffer.

Use your title tag to stir interest and to send a clear description of your content.  Take time to research keywords that can woo users to go to your site.

Keep in mind that the SERP is a very competitive platform. For your site to rank well you need to align your SEO strategies with the searcher’s intent. Give them click-worthy title tags, valuable page content, and a good user experience.  

9. Use Numbers

Title tags with numbers get higher click rates because they stand out more.  Numbers naturally trigger our brains to understand better because they are precise and quantifiable.  

Users are impatient and they want fast search results. When they see numbers they get the impression that they will find what they are looking for.

Marketers claim that title tags with odd numbers get clicked on more than even-numbered titles.  While this is just a claim, marketers have the experience to see the options that work best. Test the theory by using odd numbers on your title tags. 

Conclusion

With close to 2 billion websites on the Internet, you need every advantage to get found by your target audience. Your SEO strategy must be on point and tick off all the boxes. 

Title tags play an important role in getting your content noticed right away. Internet users are not patient and you only have a few seconds to get your audience’s attention. 

Follow the 9 best practices to optimize your title tags and you could be on your way to a higher search ranking.

Better still, give us a call or send an email and we’ll do it for you. We’re more than just professional web designers. Optimization is a service we’ve successfully provided to our clients for the past few years. 

Let’s schedule a quick call and get you started!

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

SEO for Your Business

Marketing is a continuous process where the desired results are best achieved through consistency. And there’s a lot of work to be done! From sending out emails, creating content, posting on social media, tracking performance metrics, and then add the seemingly endless meetings with clients, influencers and thought leaders, and the marketing team – it’s no surprise that marketers view Marketing Automation as the best technological innovation ever developed.

What Is Marketing Automation?

The term “Marketing Automation” is self-descriptive. It’s the process of using specially designed software programs to manage your marketing activities. 

The software technology used in marketing automation was developed to enable businesses to run their programs on multiple platforms while at the same time, managing the usual day-to-day functions. 

Surely, companies invest in marketing activities to help the sales team convert interest into paying customers. The reality is that the process of converting leads into sales can be tricky, complicated, and run up the man-hours. 

Digital marketing gives you data to keep track of consumer behavior but getting these processes to run in alignment with one another can be a challenge and will take time. 

With market automation, you have the ability to organize and create a system to streamline your efforts and improve efficiency. 

How Marketing Automation Can Solve Common Marketing Problems

The results of a marketing program are never cut in stone. Especially in this day and age where information is freely available and literally accessible in the palm of a consumer’s hand. 

Tastes and preferences of consumers – of the demographics that were part of your buyer’s profile – can change without warning. 

Marketers are faced with challenges that make it difficult to monitor performance, track changes in consumer behavior, and stay within the budget while keeping the campaign on the road toward accomplishing its end goal. 

Here are a few common marketing problems that marketers face and how marketing automation can solve them.

Problem #1 – Time Management

Let’s assume that your digital marketing goal is to increase sales. There’s no singular way to accomplish this goal. You have to break down this goal into smaller goals that involve different processes. 

For example:

Step 1: Create awareness and build the brand through content marketing strategies such as blogging, videos, and infographics.

Step 2: Build an audience through regular posting on social media.

Step 3: Generate leads by driving traffic to the website by using various platforms including SEO, social media, and online search directories.

Step 4:  Capture leads by integrating CTAs that encourage engagement. 

Step 5: Create a segmented email list to identify potential buyers.

Step 6: Send 300-word newsletters to qualified prospects from the email list.

Step 7: Regularly engage with prospects via email and social media.

The first 3 steps are intended to bring prospects to the sales funnel. Meanwhile, steps #4 to #7 represent the activities needed to move the prospects inside the sales funnel in order to convert interest into revenues. 

These steps take time and in some cases, might not end by Step #6. 

And marketers don’t just handle 1 client. They can be managing multiple campaigns at one time. These clients will be along with various points in their respective marketing goals. 

Marketing automation allows the marketer to manage different campaigns by running the processes needed for the individual campaigns. The marketer can free up more time to monitor and review the performance of each campaign and fine-tune strategies if warranted. 

Problem #2 – Difficulty Tracking Engagement Levels

It’s important to track engagement levels so that you’ll know which strategies are working and which ones aren’t. You don’t want to spend money on a strategy that isn’t delivering results. 

Marketing automation gives you the tools to track and manage user engagement so you can retarget your potential customers, create more personalized content, and choose the right platform for delivering your materials. 

You can streamline your efforts for greater efficiency and higher productivity by automating your marketing activities. 

Problem #3 – Poor Quality Leads

Getting people to visit your website and sign up for your newsletter is a big step toward generating sales for your business. But that’s just half the battle. In some cases, that could just be one-third of the battle. 

Converting leads into sales can be tricky. To generate sales you must have the capability to separate – or segment – the wheat from the chaff from your leads list. 

With marketing automation, you will have the capability to extract useful information about your leads to enable you to nurture prospects with the highest probability of becoming paying customers.  

You will have a better understanding of “who” your qualified prospects are, come up with a more accurate buyer’s profile, and develop a strategy that can guide them along the sales funnel.

How To Use Marketing Automation For Your Business

We all know that marketing is an essential part of growing a business. It creates the traffic your business needs to generate traction, build awareness, encourage followers, drive interest, and ultimately bring about sales. 

With all the functions that you have to perform and the tasks you have to accomplish, entrepreneurs can sometimes be up in arms and say “I have no time”. 

When you use Marketing Automation for your business there’s no more “I have no time” excuse. Your days will be more productive because you get to accomplish more tasks per hour while exerting less effort

Here are 5 examples of how you can use Marketing Automation for your business. To get a better appreciation of its benefits, when you’re reading our examples, put yourself in the shoes of your customer.

1. Transaction Updates

E-commerce has been steadily growing since 2014. From a US$1.3 trillion industry, e-commerce revenues hit US$4.28 Trillion in 2020. With the threat of the pandemic still in the air, e-commerce is expected to reach US$6.3 Trillion in sales by 2024. 

Still, there remain consumers who are hesitant to transact online because of security concerns. They want to be assured their orders are confirmed and that it’s perfectly safe to provide information or issue payment. 

Integrating processes that update consumers about the status of their transactions are a big boost in increasing consumer confidence for your e-commerce platform. 

For example, when a customer buys a product from your e-commerce store, you can automatically email a confirmation order that includes important information such as:

  • Invoice number
  • Product details 
  • Tracking number 
  • Total price with shipping costs 
  • Expected delivery date
  • Contact number/email. 

Take it one step further by sending out a personalized text message on the day the product is shipped out to assure the customer of his order.

2. Send Out Cart Abandonment Emails

To further drive our point that consumers continue to remain wary or uncertain about online transactions, a study published by Sleeknote showed that the cart abandonment rate across industries is 69.57%.

That’s a lot of money left on the table – or rather, the shopping cart!

But all is not lost. You can potentially recover 41.18% of the lost sales opportunities by retargeting those consumers with automated cart abandonment emails. 

Here are 4 tips on how to create highly effective cart abandonment emails:

  • Encourage the customer to push the cart through the cashier by emphasizing unique benefits such as free shipping for a minimum purchase, the availability of express delivery, and the addition of a product warranty.
  • Include social proof that validates or justifies the purchase from third parties. Examples of social proof are positive product reviews and testimonials from customers. 
  • Offer incentives such as free shipping on the next purchase or a limited-time-only 20% discount on the item if the customer buys the item. 
  • Indicate that the product abandoned in the cart is running low in supply. Sure, the customer might think you’re bluffing but then again, he might take a chance that you’re telling the truth.          

The key to getting the most out of these automated cart abandonment emails is to send them out within the first 20 minutes. The conversion rate during this time period is 5.2%. If you send the emails out 24 hours later, the conversion rate drops by 50%. 

3. Chatbots

Chatbots are good examples of how Marketing Automation can help you generate leads while you’re off managing the core functions of your business. 

To generate a lead, you need 2 things. First, the interest of the prospect, and second, his/her email address. A chatbot has been proven effective in getting you both.

Let’s assume that you’re in the business of selling vitamins and supplements. Incorporate a chatbot in your website, social media pages, chat platforms, and sponsored ads. 

When someone comes across your content, the chatbot can open up and inform the prospect that he can avail of a special discount or promo if he provides his email address. 

A chatbot can also be used to inform your followers on social media about the new stocks of vitamins and minerals that are available in your online store.  Include an order fill-out form to make it easier to process their purchases.

4. Social Media Marketing

According to Statista, people around the world spend 2 hours and 25 minutes per day on social media. Considering that people are generally awake 16 hours per day, publishing your content on social media is an important strategy to getting noticed.

The key to social media success is activity. The more frequently you post, the higher the chances of being seen by your audience. For example, according to 14 studies, you have to post twice a day on Facebook to get better results. 

Now, assuming you have 3 other social media accounts to manage, posting can take up a lot of your time. 

To save time and remain productive, you can use social media automation tools such as Buffer and HootSuite to manage your posting schedule. 

You can use the time to create new content or collaborate with outsourced talents such as content writers and graphic artists to produce optimized blogs, infographics, and videos. 

5. Customer Surveys 

Conducting customer surveys is a great way to build strong relationships with your customers. It shows that you care about what they think and want to involve them in the process of making your products and services better. 

Surveys can be used to collect information that will help you develop a better understanding of who your customers are and what their motivations are for patronizing businesses. 

You can automatically send out surveys via email, chat, or social media. It’s one of the most effective ways to generate interest and engagement. 

Conclusion

Technology exists to make life and work easier. Take advantage of Marketing Automation technology so you can promote your business while managing its day-to-day tasks. 

Marketing Automation provides you a cost-effective way to keep your business top-of-mind and maintain a high level of productivity. 

If you want to learn more about Marketing Automation and how it can help your business become profitable, give us a call or an email and we’ll come up with a game plan specifically for you. 

And if you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your friends.

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For more than a decade, UpCity’s mission has been—and continues to be—to help businesses find B2B service providers they can trust. The UpCity Recommendability Rating was developed to determine a service provider’s credibility and recommendability, giving UpCity the confidence to recommend them to the more than 1.5 million businesses that visit their site. 

Each year, UpCity analyzes and scores more than 70,000 service providers based on their UpCity Recommendability Rating and acknowledges the top national and local providers with an UpCity Excellence Award. The results are in, and we won!

We are ecstatic to announce that the Mountaintop Web Design team has been recognized as one of the top B2B service providers of 2021 in the Denver area by UpCity! 

Mountaintop Web Design offers a full suite of digital marketing services to our clients around the globe. Many small businesses lack the time and expertise to build marketing that works. We have developed solutions that get your business found so that you can quit worrying and start growing your business. 

Mark Tepper, SVP of Sales & Customer Success at UpCity, had this to say about Mountaintop Web Design:

“Mountaintop Web Design loves when their customers succeed and accomplish a new goal; they thrive on it. This drive to do more and be more is how Mountaintop Web Design was able to achieve the UpCity Excellence Award.”

– Mark Tepper, SVP of Sales & Customer Success

This recognition has been driven in large part by our 5-star review rating on UpCity. Here are a few of our favorite pieces of feedback we’ve received from our incredible customers:

“I have been very pleased with Josiah and his team. He was very responsive – actually impressed me how quickly he responded every time! His team worked well with us every step of the way to pretty much redo our entire website. Offered great suggestions when needed. They made the little tweaks I wanted until I got it just how I wanted it. I’d highly recommend them and will continue to do business with them in the future!”

-Rayna McGill, Mountaintop Web Design customer

“Josiah and his team did fantastic work in helping my company with a website overhaul. From my initial meeting with MWD, I was confident they were going to be able to help me achieve exactly what I was looking to accomplish. Josiah was able to answer all my questions and was also able to ask the appropriate questions to help me craft and create exactly what my company needed from a website. We’ve maintained their service package and they’ve been able to help us keep everything updated on our site and running without any major disruptions. I would highly recommend MWD for your website needs!”

-Brad Schoenthaler, Mountaintop Web Design customer

At Mountaintop, we take pride in giving our clients the best value for their money. We don’t just craft digital marketing strategies and websites, but we help clients save money along the way. Thank you to the UpCity team and our Mountaintop Web Design customers for this tremendous award and honor. 

For many entrepreneurs, 2020 was not a great year. It will be remembered as the year a virus caused a pandemic that shut down the world and changed the way we lived and worked. 

Since 2014 there has been a steady shift toward Internet-based businesses that accommodated mobile technology. The events of 2020 accelerated the shift from 0 to 60. 

Entrepreneurs that recognized this, have invested in strategies that will capitalize on opportunities on the Internet. And one of the investments that’s expected to pay big-time dividends in 2021 is SEO.

What Is SEO And Why Is It Important In 2021?

How did you find this article?

According to a study by BrightEdge, there’s a 53.3% chance that you found our blog after running a Google search. You probably ran the following search queries on Google:

  • Invest SEO 2021
  • SEO investment 2021
  • Why invest SEO 2021
  • SEO business investment 2021
  • Why invest SEO business 2021

In comparison, paid ads and social media only accounted for 14% and 5% of all website traffic respectively.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of developing strategies that utilize various techniques and tactics with the goal of giving a website a boost up the organic search rankings. 

“Optimization” in SEO means increasing the visibility of your content to the search engines. One technique that SEO practitioners use to optimize content is by embedding it with high-ranking keywords. By optimizing your content, web crawlers can find and index your pages. 

When an Internet user launches a search query with the keywords you used to optimize your content, the search engine can pull your web page and include it in the search results page. 

Over time and with consistency in your optimization strategies, your website may find itself in the top 3 spots on the first page of the search results page. 

How important is it to rank in the top 3 of the SERP?

According to a landmark study by Digital Ad Agency Chitika, the top 3 URLs in the SERP accounts for 61.5% of all search traffic for that particular topic search. 

The number one spot accounts for 32.5%!

You can read up more about SEO in our article “The Basics of SEO”.  

Take note that the study of BrightEdge was done in 2019 – a full year away from the 2020 pandemic. 

We’re sure that if BrightEdge updated their study to reflect consumer online behavior in 2020, the numbers would be much different. 

A study by Skyword showed that organic search traffic dramatically increased last March 2020 when the world entered into lockdown. 

In particular, the following industries experienced a massive surge in online traffic:

  • Healthcare – 358%
  • Consumer Goods and Services – 83%
  • Consumer Media – 61%
  • Business Services and Consulting – 47%

Does this mean that businesses that aren’t in these industries shouldn’t expect to reap dividends from their investments in SEO?

No, because overall Internet usage has increased by 70% since the lockdown. More consumers are going online to find products and services that address their needs. 

The ballgame has changed. The playing field is now on the Internet. Are you ready to play digital ball? For sure your competition is. 

SEO Vs. Paid Ads – Which One Is Better For Your Business In 2021?

Have you met with digital advertising agencies? For those who have, some of you may have noticed that when discussing a digital marketing strategy, the agency will tend to push for paid ads over SEO. 

This is because paid ads generate quick results. If you want to drive traffic to your website immediately, PPC or Pay-Per-Click ads will do the job for you. Once someone clicks on your ad, he will find himself on your landing page. 

In contrast, SEO strategies take time because it focuses on organic or natural growth. 

Think of your content as a seed that’s planted on various locations on the Internet – website, social media, newsletters, and guest blogs. Optimization strategies will help the content take root while your content branches out to people who will recognize and appreciate the fruits it bears. 

Meanwhile, there are many reasons why a person might click on your PPC ad:

  • Need
  • Curiosity
  • Attracted by the Design
  • Accident

Compared to a blog, a video, or an infographic, the information that can be fitted on a PPC ad is very limited. He might visit your website but eventually be disinterested and just opt to log out. 

Therefore, while paid ads may generate quick results these results may not be sustainable or represent your desired outcome. 

With SEO, you’re building relationships with your audience. As you become more consistent in creating and distributing optimized content, in time, you will develop a strong reputation and encourage more consumers to trust your brand. 

While the results take time, the results are sustainable and reflect your desired outcome. 

Research firm, Conductor, performed a study on how various digital channels drove traffic to websites. The results showed that when it comes to driving inbound traffic, SEO is king.

  • Organic Search – 64%
  • Referral Visits – 15%
  • Direct Visits – 12%
  • Paid Ads – 6%
  • Social Visits – 2%

Now, let’s factor in cost. 

Cost Variables in Paid Advertising

What does a paid ad campaign look like in the age of digital?

A typical digital ad campaign will include the following strategies and processes:

  • PPC ads
  • Guest posts 
  • Blogs and vlogs by micro-influencers
  • Endorsement arrangements with macro-influencers

The cost of the PPC ad will depend on the keywords you are bidding on. Although you pay only when someone clicks on the ad,  in order to generate better results, and improve positioning, you’ll have to pay more and run the campaign longer. 

Micro-influencers are individuals with social media platforms that have followers in the upper hundreds of thousands or millions. Macro-influencers are celebrities who are willing to endorse products or services.

Arrangements with influencers can be very expensive but if you land a deal with a reputable influencer and carry out an effective campaign, then you could end up with a windfall. 

The reported ROI on influencer marketing is US$5.20 for every US$1 invested.

Conversely, land a bad arrangement, and your business could be in big trouble! 

Likewise, your consumers could be sensitive to your influencers. For the reason that the arrangement is paid, the endorsement might not be perceived as sincere. The question for you is to figure out if the cost – and risk –  is worth it. 

The Cost Variables of SEO/Organic Search Campaign

The cost of running an organic search campaign is generally lower and more manageable. To streamline costs, you can write your own blogs and utilize free online channels such as social media and search directories to distribute content. 

The objective of content marketing is to drive traffic to your website so you can capture leads, and potentially convert interest into future sales. 

The generated leads will be used for your email marketing campaign. Every month, you’ll send at least one newsletter to your subscribers. The content of these newsletters should have great value to the recipient. 

You have to factor in the cost of the email marketing service provider and of course, the cost of your giveaways to get the website visitor to surrender his email address. 

The ROI for email marketing is even higher than influencer marketing at a reported US$44 for every US$1 spent

That’s 4,400% ROI! 

For your organic search strategies to succeed and deliver the targeted results, you must consistently create high-quality, well-researched, and properly optimized content. 

To achieve this, you may have to hire the services of experienced content creators. Even if you have the experience and required training for optimized content writing, we advise you to outsource the task so you can allocate more time to managing the core functions of your business.

If you consider that organic search strategies are more affordable and generate better results than the more expensive and less sustainable paid ads, then investing in SEO is the smarter move in 2021. 

Conclusion

If you’re willing to grind it out, SEO will be one of your best investments – if not the best digital marketing investment in 2021. 

Many businesses want short-term results and allocate more resources to paid advertising. They want an immediate return and hear the cash registers ringing. That’s to be expected and understood. 

However, the results might not be sustainable, and in the long-run, you’ll end up spending more while experiencing diminishing returns. 

As a business, you want your short-term goals to support your long-term objective. SEO can do this for you by building strong relationships with your audience and customers. 

Be patient. Remain persistent. Keep pushing! 

The results will soon come!

If you’re serious about growing your business organically, give us a call. The prestigious B2B website, UpCity has recognized some of our blogs as the best in Digital Marketing and small business marketing.

Let us do the same for you!

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

Once you’ve set up a website, the next step is to drive traffic through digital marketing. We can assure you with 100% certainty that a strategic, well-thought-out digital marketing campaign WILL bring people to your website. The bigger problem is when people land on your website, what would you want them to do?

Entrepreneurs are often so focused on blogs, videos, and images as the primary forms of content that they overlook one essential element of web copy – a button that can deliver the desired results. 

This button is called the Call-to-Action (CTA) button; a key feature of your website that tells the visitor what you want them to do upon landing on the page. 

The CTA button is small in size and does not occupy a lot of real estate on your website. But when properly designed and located, the CTA button can yield big results for your business.

Call-To-Action: What Is It Really?

A Call-to-Action is a command, instruction, or a specific course of action that you want the audience to take. On a website, the CTA is typically presented as a button, usually on the home page which is the landing page when someone clicks on its URL. 

In website design, all the elements of a webpage must work together. For a home page, the Header carries the business’ Brand Value Proposition (BVP). 

As we discussed in our article “One Simple Hack to Get More Website Engagement”, a Header that captures the interest of the visitor within 6 to 8 seconds is critical to cause the visitor to explore your website.

He may scroll down and find your CTA button. The next few seconds will determine if the visitor will move further down the sales funnel – or abandon the search and click out of your website.

The CTA button must answer this question:

“What do you want the visitor to do NOW?”

Why You Need A Clear-Cut CTA On Your Website

Let’s assume you’re really hungry and badly craving a burger and fries. You enter a restaurant with a slogan (think of it as the website Header) of serving the biggest, juiciest burgers in the world. 

When you enter the restaurant, you have no clue where to sit and how to order. No one’s attending to you and there are no signs on the entrance detailing the next steps. 

With your stomach grumbling, chances are, you’ll forego the biggest and juiciest burgers in the world and just opt for the regular, fast-food burger next door – perhaps 2 or 3 orders this time!

A vague, lackluster, and drab CTA will have the same effect on a potential customer who lands on your home page.

We defined CTA as a form of command or instruction and these descriptions might seem too forceful or aggressive. But an effective CTA is one that is crystal clear; there’s no second-guessing on the action you want the website visitor to take. 

With a consumer needing only a few seconds to make a decision, you can’t afford to be cute with your CTA. It has to grab the visitor by the collar, get in his face, and tell him with absolute certainty what he needs to do next. 

If your CTA is unclear and leaves the website visitor wondering what he’s supposed to do next, he will leave and you will end up leaving money on the home page. 

Examples Of Good And Bad CTAs

Let’s start out this section by giving you examples of CTAs that won’t get the job done for your website:

  • Learn More
  • Get Started
  • Ask Me How
  • Take Part in the Journey
  • Click to Believe

These CTAs will fail to deliver because they’re ambiguous to the visitor. It’s not clear how taking the action will help the visitor find the solution to his concern. The CTA does not convince the visitor that you’re the answer. 

A CTA might as well be called Compel to Action because that’s what you want the button to do – act or move according to your command.

Why? Because by following the instruction of the CTA, the visitor will find what he’s looking for. Whether it’s solutions, answers, or information – by clicking on your CTA button, he will get it.

Here are 10 examples of effective CTAs that will compel the visitor to act:

  • Buy Now
  • Book an Appointment
  • Sign Up For Free
  • Get 1 Month Free NOW
  • Click for FREE Access
  • Click for FREE Consultation
  • Get Free Estimate Now
  • Download Free Copy
  • Claim Your Free Gift
  • Click For BIG Discounts

When you go over these examples, the CTAs are crystal clear on what they want you to do.

How do these CTAs work or deliver results for your website?

Example 1: A Pharmaceutical Company that sells insecticides and disinfectant products engineered to kill mosquitos, cockroaches, other insects, and green chemicals proven to destroy a wide spectrum of bacteria and viruses.

Header: Keeping Homes and Offices Safe From Diseases, Bacteria, and Viruses For Over 50 Years.

CTA: Buy Now

Example 2: A roof repair company with extensive experience fixing leaks and other forms of damage.

Header: One-Stop Shop For All Your Roofing Needs

CTA: Book An Appointment

As you can see, the CTA is aligned with the Header and the company’s overall value proposition. It answers the question:

“What can we do for you?”

Answer – Click our CTA!

6 Rules For Creating A Good CTA For Your Website

Creating a CTA that works wonders for your website is not as hard as you might think. Here are 6 rules you need to keep in mind when coming up with a good CTA for your website.

1. Support the Header

Yes, we’ve mentioned this quite a few times in this article. But it’s worth stating again the importance of having a CTA that clearly aligns with your Header. The CTA must help push the visitor further down the sales funnel.

2. Be Bold and Clear

A General isn’t vague when he gives the Private an order to “drop 10”. The Private has to drop down right away and knock out a set of 10 push-ups. 

With the CTA you have to be bold and tell the visitor what you want him to do. Buy, sign up, try, subscribe, claim, or download – be clear in telling the visitor what he needs to do next.

3. Make it Emphatic

Assume that the visitor who landed on your page wants a solution NOW. He clicked on the right URL, it’s up to your CTA to push him to act by creating a sense of urgency. 

4. Keep it Short

If you noticed from our examples of good CTAs, the maximum word count is 4. Can you go over? Sure, but it should not compromise the effectiveness of the 3 previously discussed tips for a good CTA. Too many words and the message can get lost. 

5. Visually Appealing Design

The CTA should stand out on the webpage. Ideally, it must be brightly-colored and creates a wonderful contrast with the background. 

6. Location Must Be Visible

The CTA usually comes after the Header. It must be clearly seen and easily identifiable to the reader. The font size must be large enough to be visible with enough spacing between the words to make it highly-readable.

Conclusion

If your website isn’t delivering results, the CTA could be the problem. We recommend to our clients that they run A/B testing among possible CTAs to have an idea which one has the best chance of generating the desired outcome. 

The CTA accentuates your sales pitch to the visitor. Take your time in coming up with one for your website. 

Better yet, give us a call and we’ll create a CTA that will meet your business goals. We’ll run the A/B tests so we can assure you that our CTA is the right choice for your website.

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

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When someone clicks on your URL, he will end up on your website’s Home page. The first 6 seconds after a visitor lands on your Home page is crucial. In that space of time, he will decide on whether to explore your content or click out. 

Of course, you want him to stay. The longer the time spent on your website, the better the chances of achieving your goal. He could read your blogs, find out more about your business on the About Us page, or check out the list of products available on your e-commerce portal. 

The question is: How can you make the visitor stay longer and generate more website engagement?

One simple hack to get more website engagement is to add a slider to your Home page.

What Is A Slider?

It’s sometimes referred to as a “carousel” or a “slideshow” because a slider is in a constant state of motion. A slider runs a series of images that give the visitor an idea of what the website is about. 

Images that are well-conceptualized and thought-out are effective vehicles for your message. Visuals, whether static images or videos resonate faster to the viewer compared to text. 

For this reason, a slider is located at the Home page which is the primary landing page of your website. 

To find out more about a slider, read our article “Why a Slider Image on Your Website is More Important Than Your Logo”.

What Kind Of Slider Would Deliver Best Results For Your Website?

Visit any website with a slider and you’ll see different ways in which it’s used on the Home page. 

On an e-commerce website, a slider is used to present a number of its most popular products. Click on a real estate website and you’ll see the houses that the agency is offering on the market. 

A business that deals in a service such as consulting may have testimonial videos on the carousel. 

At Mountaintop, we recommend the use of a slider on the Home page. It will definitely capture the attention of the visitor and get him to stay on your website longer. 

We have done different types of slides for our clients. Based on analytics, the slider has definitely helped our clients achieve their marketing goals. 

However, there is one type of slider that works better than others. 

Our One Simple Hack To Get More Website Engagement

To get the best results and generate more active visitor engagement, your website should only use one image for its slider.

You can easily get over-excited with the idea of running a carousel that features a lot, if not all, of your top-selling products. The more the merrier, right?

Not when it comes to website functionality and marketing purposes.

Clients often give us a puzzled look when we advise them that one image on the slider is all they need to generate greater website engagement. We understand their viewpoint because they have different products to offer. 

However, based on our experience and on the performances of clients who followed our advice, one slider is all you need. 

Why does one slider work the best for your website?

1. Multiple Slider Images Will Slow Down Your Website

High-resolution images are more compelling and enticing to website visitors. However, high-resolution images consume a lot of bandwidth and will slow down your website. 

Likewise, if you use large-sized, high-resolution images then scale them down, this can lead to the webpage increasing unnecessarily in size and slow down your website’s speed. 

Rather than have 3 to 6 high-resolution images rotating on your slider, just have one high-resolution image. According to Yoast, website visitors tend to click on the first image only. Thus, having multiple images may not carry out their intended purpose.

2. Multiple Images Create Multiple Messages

The header plays a very crucial role in your website. It’s the first thing the visitor sees when he lands on your website. 

The header is located at the top of the webpage. On your Home page, the header includes the logo and the categories of the pages on your site such as “About Us”, “Contact Us”, “Blogs”, and “Products and Services”.

But the key function of the header is to captivate the visitor with your website’s Brand Value Proposition. With only a few words, the BVP can tell the visitor who you are, what your business is about, and why you offer the best solutions to his problems. 

A slider is an effective way of reinforcing the message of your BVP. As you know, how images are interpreted is a matter of perception. Thus, having multiple images can create multiple interpretations that deviate from the main message of your BVP. 

At Mountaintop, we go over all the images with our clients and choose one image that best represents the business and captures the BVP on the header.

3. Multiple Sliders May Affect Your Site’s Search Rankings

From a professional web designer’s perspective, having multiple images on your slider can create havoc on the webpage.

The position of the slider and the amount of real estate the images occupy tend to push content further down the page. An image slider can be so big that it can occupy the entire space of your webpage. 

A site visitor may not come across content until after the fold and this may lead to a no-so-pleasant experience. Likewise, image sliders may not set up well on mobile screens and affect its level of responsiveness. 

As you well know, Google is big on user experience and if your site presents functionality problems, the search engine giant may penalize you in the search rankings. 

4. Messaging Is Clearer And More Focused

We touched on the value of clear messaging briefly in #2 but we feel it’s important to devote a section about the key role your header plays on the website. 

When you’re at the newsstand, what compels you to choose one newspaper over another? The headline, right? A headline that’s catchy and enticing enough to make you want to read through the entire newspaper will influence your choice of publication. 

The decision-making process only takes mere seconds. 

The same can be said about the header of your website. If you have an e-commerce website, your header should compel the visitor to buy your products. If you have a business website that offers consulting services, you want the header to entice the visitor to hire your company. 

A person clicks on your URL because he thinks your website may offer the answers he needs. However, if all he sees on your Home page is a collection of text that has no meaning or relevance for his purpose on clicking on your URL, he will leave. 

The header must offer the visitor something clear and tangible. What will the visitor get if he decides to choose your business? That is your BVP – clear, resonant, and will not cause the reader to second guess.

The slider can support your header – if the image is aligned with the message of the BVP. 

For example, you own a bakery that sells freshly-baked Red Velvet cupcakes online. Your header has the following BVP:

“Order Now For the Best Oven-Fresh Red Velvet Cupcakes You’ll Ever Have.”

Now, if your slider ran images of cakes, croissants, pies, salads, and Club sandwiches along with the Red Velvet cupcakes, the site visitor may get confused and distracted from your message.

Will he buy your other products? Probably not because he clicked on your URL for your cupcakes. 

The best approach would be to use one slider image – that of the signature Red Velvet cupcake – and offer a pullout menu for the other items you sell.

Conclusion

Despite the opinions of its naysayers, the slider is an effective addition to your website. Have it placed on the Home page to support the BVP on the header and watch your website’s engagement levels blow up!

The keys to the effectiveness of the slider are to use only one high-resolution image and to make sure the image is relevant and best represents your site’s BVP. 

If you’re thinking of using a slider for your website, give us a call and we’ll give you more insights on how to make it work wonders for your business. 

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

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If you’re having problems getting the desired results from your marketing program and are at a loss at how to fix it or if you’re planning to launch your first marketing campaign – this article is for you! 

Let’s start out by saying that your decision to invest in a marketing program is 100% a step in the right direction. You’re much better off than other businesses that have scrapped “marketing” from their budgets. 

We’re here to tell you that there is no “one size fits all” approach to marketing and no one can set a deadline for success. Marketing can be a frustrating activity because results vary and will take time. 

You might think nothing is working right. You’ve put in the time and have done the research. Your website hasn’t gotten a significant increase in the number of visitors. Likewise, your social media numbers aren’t improving. Worse, your cash register isn’t ringing and your bank account has gone on an unplanned diet. 

So if you’ve done everything according to plan, you’ve ticked off the boxes, kept activity high – and you’re still not getting results – what’s the problem?

With frustration building up you might find yourself looking at the mirror and asking the question:

“Am I the problem?”

How To Know If You Are the Problem With Your Marketing Program

There’s a science to marketing – tools, processes, and analytics – that you have to utilize to manage a focused campaign and to deliver a clear message. 

But there’s also a creative; almost intuitive, side of marketing that requires you to customize your approach to fit the needs of your customers. That intuitive aspect of marketing makes it an emotional exercise. Emotion is good because it gives you the ability to empathize with customers. 

But emotion can also cloud your judgment; enable certain biases, and compromise decision-making. 

When this happens, you’ll have a hard time viewing things from an objective standpoint and you could be doing your marketing efforts more harm than good.

Here’s a list of situations that you may have encountered while marketing your business and caused you to doubt whether you’re doing a good job or not.

1. The Reluctant Customer

With new small businesses opening up every day, an effective marketing plan can help your business stand out from the competition. Consumers are always on the lookout for the best deals in the market, the most innovative products, and services that can make life and work easier and more convenient. 

And thanks to the Internet, today’s consumers are more discerning. 

According to research from Oberlo, 85% of consumers conduct online research before purchasing a product or service. 

If a consumer clicks on your ad, follows your page or visits your website, he could just be conducting research. It’s not different from owning a shoe store inside a mall and having customers walk in and out without purchasing a pair. 

Getting a consumer interested is a big step forward in generating sales for your business. But it’s not enough to get people through your funnel. You need to coax them through the funnel; give them good reasons to pursue the journey and become paying customers. 

  • Offer something special – Discounts, limited access to content, and free products are good examples.
  • Highlight your value proposition – Why should they go with your business? Will your product increase ROI? Can your service improve their productivity? Can your product streamline costs?
  • Provide the answers they need – Find out the biggest concerns and the most nagging questions faced by your target market and present your answers by coming up with an FAQ section. 
  • Practice excellent customer service – The “social” in social media is the reason why you should frequently engage with your followers. Yes, even those who may post negative comments or feedback. 

Engagement is the first step to relationship-building. If someone says something negative or unfavorable about your business, take it as an opportunity to show you care by addressing the issue. You can simply send a private message rather than responding on the thread.

2. Water, Water Everywhere…

The Internet is a great place to look for employment. Every day there are thousands of jobs or projects posted on various business websites. You can scroll down the ads and apply for the ones that interest you the most. 

Success is not guaranteed to happen overnight. It might take days or weeks to get invited to a job interview. And even if you do get the interview, you might not get the job. 

It doesn’t mean you’re the problem or that you’re the worst of the lot. 

Employers and prospective clients also use these websites to look for talent. They have their own qualifying process and it could just be the case that they don’t see you as the ideal candidate for the job or project. 

If things aren’t moving as well as you expected, here are a few things you can do to remedy your situation:

  • If you were interviewed but not hired, reach out to the interviewer and find out why. You might be surprised by the responsiveness of people from HR. They know where you’re coming from and would like to help you improve your chances of getting hired.
  • Read the job advertisement carefully and assess your level of qualification. Are you really cut out for the job? Do you meet the minimum requirements? 
  • Review your online profile and make an honest assessment. Is it enticing to employers? Are your rates too high? Do you have enough accomplishments? Are your sample projects impressive enough?

Lastly, don’t stop – keep trying! Getting a job or landing a project is a numbers game. The more job ads that you apply to, the better the chances of getting hired. Make the necessary improvements on your profile and move forward to the next job ad. 

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3. It’s Not You – It’s Me

Finding the right people to run the business with you can be quite a challenge. You might end up going through 10 to 20 applications to find the best-qualified candidate. 

And when you do, it doesn’t mean the employment arrangement is a done deal. Even with a signed contract, the person you just hired can always back out. 

You’re stuck with all these questions in your head. 

  • “Is it my fault?”
  • “Did I say something that upset him?”
  • “Did I come across as too forward?”
  • “Was I too familiar?”
  • “Should I have offered a higher salary?”

The same can be said when trying to land clients for your business. Not even a signed contract or Memorandum of Agreement will guarantee you a sure deal. 

It’s quite possible that at the last moment the candidate or the prospective client had a change of heart due to a number of reasons. These possible reasons could be receiving a better offer elsewhere, a realization that the arrangement will be a poor fit, or it could simply be a last-minute decision change.

Whatever the reason, it won’t hurt to reach out and find out why. Perhaps the client was looking for a skill that wasn’t properly presented on your website and social media pages. 

It could also be that the candidate or prospective client had a different vibe to your social media posts. 

Regardless of the results of your inquiry, it doesn’t mean you have to change. Most likely, you have to review the message of your marketing campaign. In its current form, do you believe it clearly resonates with the people or clients that you want to attract?

If you haven’t landed a client or the ideal candidate yet – don’t fret. The best things come to those who wait. Sometimes the smallest tweak in your messaging can bring in the biggest results.

4. The Price Is Not Right

One of the most popularly conveyed examples of the benefits of free enterprise is the lemonade stand that cuts its prices to get the customers of the other lemonade stand. 

Slashing your prices can get your business customers right away. It will also make customers happy knowing that by choosing your product, they can save money.

But price-cutting is not a sustainable strategy. Likewise, it’s not a good marketing strategy for building your business brand. As a matter of fact, price-cutting may do irreparable damage to your brand.

To maintain a healthy margin while price-cutting, you may have to compromise the quality of your product. Think of your favorite donut shop adding more cheap flour to the recipe to lower the production cost. 

Price-cutting will only serve to commoditize your brand and dilute its value proposition. 

If your product isn’t selling well, don’t assume right away that it’s because of your price. Reach out to your customers, social media followers, and email subscribers. Conduct surveys via email, social media, and as a CTA on your website. 

Analyze the results of your studies, review your website and social media analytics, then, plan your next move. The more data you have, the clearer the picture becomes. Remember, strategy follows numbers and not the other way around.

Let’s assume that price is the main concern of your customers. This doesn’t mean that you should cut prices right away. There are other ways to address the concerns of your customers without compromising your product’s value proposition:

  • Offer loyalty discounts.
  • Come up with packaged deals.
  • Tie up with non-competing brands. 
  • Incorporate a referral system. 
  • Reach out to groups and customize special cost-saving packages for them.

That’s the advantage of digital marketing. It gives you several avenues to reach your customers and engage with them. 

5. The Writer’s Wall

Blogging is a proven way of driving traffic to your website. Studies have shown that businesses that blog generate 97% more links to their website than businesses that don’t blog. 

But blogging isn’t just about tapping your ideas onto a Word document and publishing it on your website.

If you’ve been blogging for some time but have not been getting more traffic to your website or if you haven’t seen an increase in social media engagement, you’ll have to review your blogging strategy.

There’s a process involved and standards to observe in order to create a high-ranking blog. 

  • Topic research – What do your readers want to read? What are their concerns and interests? Keyword research and a visit to your competitors’ websites are effective ways to find out what your audience is searching for.
  • Keyword research – Keywords are the words and phrases used by the searcher to launch a query. Without keywords, your blog will not be found.
  • Readability/Structure – How your blog looks will have an effect on its readability. Sentences and paragraphs should be shorter. 

There must be more space between paragraphs. Use bullet points to organize your key information. Separate topics with the use of sub-headers. 

  • Quality Assurance – No errors in spelling and grammar, please!
  • Uniqueness – Publishing a blog that is not unique will do serious damage to your business brand. Google will slap you down the search rankings. 

In addition, if the creator of the content you copied from decides to go after you, the penalties may cost you thousands of dollars. 

Before publishing your blog, run it through a plagiarism detection software such as Copyscape. 

  • Who are you writing for? – A big mistake made by business owners who blog is their writing style. Because they are experts in their field, they tend to write using technical language. 

Some believe that writing in this manner will impress the reader. But what kind of impression are you creating if the reader can’t understand your content? Write in a manner that is easily understood by your audience. 

A good example is this blog! Everything that we just discussed – we did for this blog.

It takes 3 to 4 hours to write a high-quality blog. If you don’t have the time, outsource the process to Mountaintop Web Design. 

Our blogs have been cited by several business websites including UpCity as among the best in business and digital marketing. 

Conclusion

It’s great to set up a small business with systems in accounting, Human Resources, and IT in place. But if you don’t invest in a marketing program, you will be run over by your competitors, get overlooked by consumers, and miss out on opportunities to earn revenues for your business. 

Keep in mind that nothing is set in stone when you’re marketing a product and service. There are variables that come into play – variables that can affect your preferred outcomes. 

If things don’t go as planned, don’t be hard on yourself. You’re not alone. Thousands of other entrepreneurs are in the same boat – trying to steer their marketing campaign in the right direction. 

Marketing is a skill. And like all skills, you need constant repetition to be really good at it. 

Or simply outsource your digital marketing needs to us! Give us a call or send an email. We’ll get your digital marketing campaign started and charted on the right course.

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

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Chatbots were created to make it easier and more convenient for customers to interact with businesses. 

Rather than deal with a human who may not provide the right answers because of duress, lack of preparation, or poor communication skills, customers can interact with a chatbot that has the answers to everything.

However, what the imperfect humans had the nearly-perfect chatbots did not have:

The ability to relate to humans. 

For all the times’ customers became irate with the agent on the other end of the line, they still missed the human touch. What humans lacked in giving an accurate response, they made up for in empathy. 

The earliest incarnation of the chatbot did not have this. 

That is until the Facebook Messenger chatbot came along.

What Is A Facebook Messenger Bot?

First, let’s define what a chatbot is.

A chatbot is a form of Artificial Intelligence or A.I. that is designed and developed as a messaging software program to allow businesses to communicate with customers.

The software program of a chatbot enables it to understand the various questions and inquiries relayed by customers so that it can formulate an accurate response. 

Thus, a Facebook Messenger bot is a chatbot that is incorporated into the social media giant’s messaging platform, Messenger. 

Why Does Your Business Need A Facebook Messenger Bot?

If your business is on Facebook – and which business isn’t – then you’re familiar with Messenger. 

Setting up a Facebook business page is almost a standard feature in every Digital Marketing strategy toolbox because the social network has 2.7 billion active monthly users.

But posting content on Facebook is not enough to harness the full power of the social media platform. Likewise, your business should have a Facebook Messenger marketing strategy.

1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger every month. 

What are the benefits of using Facebook Messenger for your business?

1. Acquire New Customers 

It all starts with a simple inquiry. Turning the inquiry into a sale depends on how fast and accurately you can provide the answers. If the prospect is impressed with the response time, you can be assured of a new customer any time soon.

2. Increase the Rate of Sales Conversions

With Messenger, you can have customers browse through your products. For example,  if you are selling nutritional supplements, you can distribute the promos to your followers. If they’re interested, they can transact the sale right there and then.

3. Build Your Brand

It’s not just having a popular messaging platform to promote your business. If customers love the experience of dealing with your company via Messenger, it will leave an indelible impression. For sure, if friends ask them for recommendations, your brand will come out top of mind.

4. Enhance Customer Experience 

Have you ever tried to call customer service only to be put on hold for almost an hour? With Messenger, customer queues are a thing of the past. All they have to do is post their inquiry on your Messenger account. However, make sure you respond right away. Response time of 24 hours is still acceptable. 

How A Chatbot Powers Up Your Facebook Messenger Strategy

All these benefits of using Facebook Messenger considered, adding a chatbot to the messaging service takes your strategy to the next level!

Why?

Although there are 1.3 billion active users of Messenger and more than 6 million ads, only 300,000 have chatbots

The playing field is still sparse; the competition is fewer, you can access your customers faster and provide better service than your competitors who don’t have chatbots.

Investing in a Facebook Messenger chatbot is also cheaper compared to investing in an app because according to statistics 71% of people who download an app delete it after 90 days. 

With these in mind, how can adding a bot power up your Facebook Messenger strategy?

1. Target Your High-Priority Customers

A chatbot can identify customers from your subscriber list who are most likely to buy from you based on their past history and levels of engagement. They can send your Facebook Messenger sponsored ads directly to them. 

2. Speed Up – and Improve Customer Service

A human customer service representative can get tired answering the same questions over and over again. Not a Messenger chatbot – and the A.I. can respond within an hour. 

3. Qualify Potential Leads

Sometimes when you inquire about a company’s products or services on Messenger, your inquiry would be met with a default message that advises you of the turnaround time for the response.

In addition, there is usually a questionnaire asking the following questions:

  • Your purpose for the product
  • How you came across the company
  • Your budget
  • Questions on demographics

The chatbot is getting details to create a buyer’s persona. The information will help you qualify leads or potential customers for your business.

4. Close the Sale

A customer who’s in a rush won’t leave Messenger and go to a website to complete the transaction. A chatbot can do this for you simply by asking the customer to fill out an order form. 

Once the order has been paid for, all the customer has to do is send a copy of the proof of payment via Messenger. The chatbot can confirm the order right away and provide details on the expected delivery time. 

5. Encourage Repeat Sales

A chatbot can accurately maintain the purchasing history of your customers. It can send a gentle reminder to a customer who bought a Truffle Cake for his wife to celebrate her birthday – which is 5 days away. And your customers will appreciate your business for keeping them in mind. 

Okay, so that’s the context of why your business needs a Facebook Messenger chatbot.

Now, let’s find out how to build one for your business!

Step-By-Step Guide To Making Your Facebook Messenger Bot

It used to be the case that you had to hire a developer to build a chatbot for you. Thanks to advances in digital technology, there are programs that can help you create a chatbot on your own. 

Will it take only 10 minutes to make a Facebook Messenger bot? Maybe if you have some background in coding or have done this before. Our point in stating that you can create a bot in 10 minutes is to tell you that it can be done and it’s not as hard as you think!

Who knows? Maybe you can build your chatbot in 5 minutes!

There are 3 popular chatbot-building programs to choose from:

  1. ChatFuel
  2. ManyChat
  3. DialogFlow

Of these 3 programs, we recommend ChatFuel because we believe it’s the easiest to use and offers wonderful versions even if you opt for the free version.

Step 1: Log-In To Your Facebook Account Then Connect to ChatFuel 

Make sure you’re using the same browser that you used to log-in to your Facebook account to access the ChatFuel homepage. 

Once you’re on the ChatFuel homepage, click “get started for free” then authorize ChatFuel to access your Facebook account. 

Step 2: Choose the Facebook Business Page For The Chatbot

Chatbots only function for business pages and not personal accounts. If you don’t have a Facebook Business Page, you must create one first.

If you have more than one Facebook Business Page, choose the one that you want to have a chatbot for its messaging service. 

Step 3: Take the Tutorial

When you’ve connected ChatFuel to a Facebook Business Page, you will be given a chatbot builder tutorial. We suggest that you take a few minutes to go through the tutorial. 

Step 4: Compose Your “Welcome” Message

Whether your visitors are first-timers or previous customers, everyone loves to read a welcome message. It makes them feel attended to and important. 

Should you mention that the message is from a bot? 

We think that it’s perfectly fine to inform the visitor that he’s dealing with a chatbot. First, chatbots are common so there’s no surprise really. Second, it shows the visitor that you’re honest and transparent. Third, if something goes wrong, the visitor can immediately attribute the problem as a technical or programming issue. 

Here’s an example of a welcome message:

“Hi Larry! Welcome to Garden Emporium. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. I’m a chatbot that can help you find answers to your questions. How can I help you today?”

An A.I bot can decipher the visitor’s question and pull out the response from a default list of answers. However, be prepared for inquiries or problems that weren’t covered by the list of responses. 

What you can do is to create a backup message for situations such as this. Here’s an example of a backup message:

“I’m not clear on what it is that you’re asking. But if you could click on this link, you may have the answers you’re looking for.”

Then, provide a link to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page or to a reference link that could be relevant to the visitor’s inquiry.

Step 5: Create the Conversation Navigation

At any point in time, the chatbot will be faced with different questions from visitors. You have to anticipate what these questions are and prepare the Conversation Navigation or the series of default responses that the chatbot can give. 

There could be dozens of questions! Start first with the most common ones such as:

  • Where is Garden Emporium?
  • What is the fastest way to get to Garden Emporium?
  • What varieties of plants do you sell?
  • Do you sell garden tools and equipment?
  • Do you accept credit cards?
  • What time do you open?
  • What time do you close?
  • Are you open on holidays?
  • Are you open on Sundays?

To get the conversation navigation in motion, you have to create a “block” for each question. Don’t worry if you have a laundry-list of questions. It’s easy to create a block. 

  • Click “Add Block”
  • Give each block a title

When you’ve created a block for each of the questions, go back to your welcome message page and click “Add Button”.

Type in the name of the button in the first field. This is the name that you want your visitor to see.

Finally, select the block that you want to bring your visitor to.

Step 6: Create the Dialogue for the Block

Now you’re ready to compose the answers or the response for the blocks you just created. 

ChatFuel has a number of options you can use to customize your responses.

  1. Text Card – Simply type in the response you want on the block.
  2. Typing – The visitor will get the experience of someone typing the answers.
  3. Quick Reply – No need to bring the visitor to a new block. Instead, the response is shown on the block.
  4. Image – If the visitor’s inquiry requires a visual, the block will upload the appropriate image. For example, if the inquiry is “Do you have an image of the echeveria succulent plant?”
  5. Gallery – Similar to Image but the request is for more than one image.

Step 7: Build Your A.I.

Simply click “Set Up A.I.” and you’re good to go. 

This is the step where you fortify the messaging service by making sure all the possible questions and inquiries to your A.I. will be covered by accurate responses. 

Yes, you can direct the response to the blocks you created but you can also create new responses to other possible questions.

Step 8: Go Live With Your Chatbot

The other cool thing about ChatFuel is that it saves your work as you go along. To go live, you just have to copy the link and paste it into your Facebook page. You can also add the link to your website and online ads.

How?

  • Open the left-hand navigation menu.
  • Go to the “Promote” page.
  • Copy the URL.

Then paste as you please!

Conclusion

Chatbots are here to stay so start building one for your Facebook Messenger account. It’s easy enough to create on your own and a chatbot will add more value to your Facebook Messenger strategy. 

Your customers will certainly appreciate having their questions and concerns addressed right away. 

If you want assistance, we can build your Facebook Messenger chatbot for you. Just give us a call or send an email. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

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