Best Practices: Landing pages

The landing page is the final step in converting a visitor to a lead.  It starts with a valuable offer and must have a form to collect visitor information.  These 10 tips will help you optimize your landing pages to generate qualified leads.

1)  Explain Value of the Offer

The landing page must clearly explain the benefits of receiving the offer in exchange for their contact information.  The content must answer the question: “what’s in it for me?”

2)  Consistent Headers and Call to Action

Headers should clearly explain the offer and be consistent with the call to action visitors clicked on to reach the landing page.  The headers should start with an action verb like “learn” or “download”.

3)  5 Second Rule

In less than 5 seconds, visitors to your landing page should be able to understand what the offer is, the value of the offer and what they need to do to get the offer.  Make it easy for the visitor to scan the information by using 3 to 5 bullet points.

4)  Create a Short Form

Short forms are always better than long forms to make it easier for a website visitor to become a lead. Only ask for the information that will help you or your sales team follow up with or qualify the lead.

5)  Place Content Above the Fold

The content and form on the landing page should always be visible above the page’s fold.  Testing has proven you will see a higher conversion rate if visitors do not have to scroll down to see the form. Continue reading “Best Practices: Landing pages”


Surviving the Downturn: Strategies Part 2

In my last post, we looked at re-tooling the “price” – P  in the marketing mix.   This week I’d like to hone in a bit on the “promotion” -P.

We all know that marketing expenditures are shifting from traditional branding efforts and media to more direct ROI methods and “customer nurturing” or social media.  With budgets shrinking marketers are faced with having to do MORE with LESS.  So, what are some of the savvy marketers doing?   

Well that depends on what industry you are in, and whether you are a B-to-B or B-to-C marketer.  But, one strategy that many marketers have embraced is to focus more on RETAINING customers rather than acquiring new customers.  I’m not saying they are abandoning their new biz efforts, but SHIFTING more of the marketing budget towards retention.

If you think about the old 80/20 rule (in the B-to-B world), where 80 percent of your business comes from 20% of your customers, then it really makes sense regardless of the economic climate to keep those customers loyal to your brand.  Many companies are stepping up their efforts to identify and nurture the decision makers and influencers in their top 20%.  It’s not enough to just focus on one or two individuals in an account, but rather anyone who has an experience with your product or service.

Another main reason is the obvious –it simply costs much less to maintain a customer than to acquire a new one.  So, in a downturn when budgets are scarce, it makes sense to change your main focus to maintaining your market share vs. growing it.  Some of the tactics being deployed are:

               Loyalty programs:  Companies that have them are enhancing and promoting them more.   Companies that don’t have a loyalty program are creating them.  One strategy that is also growing is  the “brand ambassador” program.  The brand ambassador program can be implemented with various media —direct mail, email, inserts, collateral material, social media, and by word-of-mouth.  It’s simplest form is the “referral program” where your friend gets xx and you get xx for referring them.  A few more expensive to implement, but bring in a positive ROI are the following social media tactics:

           Tap into customers’ enthusiasm with online ratings and reviews.  Many marketers have seen an explosion of new sales just because they implemented this feature in their website.  One company, eBags expects to yield over $400,000 in profit from a $200,000 investment in one year!

          Create a community to energize your customers.  This works best if your customers have a passion for your product/service and have an affinity for each other –especially in a B-to-B environment.   Constant Contact- an email service provider for small business owners is experiencing an incredible snowball effect from this effort —13000 participants -10% from it’s customer base, with 30% of the community providing referrals. That equates to an 82% growth rate for the company! 

More to come..have a great day!    Brian.

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Surviving the Downturn: Strategies Part 1

We all know that today’s economy poses a tough challenge for companies of all sizes and industries.  But through it all, many organizations will survive and even thrive.  How?  Simply by changing a few fundamental ways they do business– putting emphasis on creating strong loyalty to their brand and preferably, to the company’s premium brands.  And to do this, they are  dissecting  the 4 “P”s and retooling…quickly.  For today, let’s focus on one of the 4 P’s – PRICE.

How you price your product or service in normal times can be a challenge in itself.  It’s all about PERCEIVED VALUE.  Price too high, well you lose most of the time.  Price too low, and your profit margin is compromised, plus you may lose out to higher priced competitors because your product/service is perceived as inferior.  (I learned this lesson the hard way when my agency came in at 50% lower than a competitor and we lost the bid.  The next time we raised our bid up 45% and won.  Did we cut corners?  No. We just were able to do the job at a lower cost because of our lower overhead, but our client didn’t care — it was the perception that they would get more VALUE at the higher price)!

In these tough times the game has changed.  The key is to find the ultimate price point on what your customers are willing to pay, and to get them to be loyal to your premium brand.  You could just simply lower your prices to gain or keep market share–but a healthier approach would be to “repackage” your offer so that profitability is acceptable and the consumer is willing to TRADE UP for your more profitable, premium brand by paying the same for the premium brand as they would for the standard version.

  Here’s an example:

Say you have three kinds of  hand lotions – regular, advanced and premium.  They sell for $4, $5, and $7.  They are all packaged in 16 oz containers. The price/oz. is $0.25, $0.3125,  and $0.437 respectively.  Quite a big jump from standard to premium.  But, if you price them all at $4 each and repackage the advanced in a 15oz. bottle and the premium in a 14oz. bottle, the price per oz. is now $0.25, $0.26, and $0.28 –not a big difference in the eyes of the consumer. Now the consumer can buy the premium for the same $4 as the standard–and probably will even though they get 2 oz. less.  You will take a smaller profit margin then usual, but you are achieving your objective of maintaining your market share and developing loyalty to your premium brand.

We all have our own pricing models whether they are subscription-based or per project or per piece.  I’m sure that you can find creative ways to find the ultimate “P” to help you win in this economy and in good times ahead.

Part 2 of this series will examine another strategy that is a MUST for any organization.

I welcome any comments, views, concerns, topics you’d like to hear about…   Have a great day!   Brian.

Explosive revenue growth at little or no cost –is it possible?

In today’s tough economy there are still ways for creative marketers to achieve remarkable results without having to make a major investment —here are two examples:                               

1)  Social media – YouTube:  Blendtec, a manufacturer of high-end blending machines is one of several great examples of how this medium can yield incredible results –in fact it achieved over a 20% growth in revenue from a $ 300 investment!!!  The skinny is this– the new marketing director was amazed at how the blender could grind up wood in the testing center and thought it would be great to show the world a demo of it’s power.  With that, he thought of putting “extreme blending” videos on the web.  Initially they put the videos up on their website and linked with Digg.  Then on to YouTube.  Then the explosion took place– 6 million views in the first week!  Soon fans on YouTube were suggesting things to grind up –such as the iPhone …and Blendtec obliged.  The result: over 60 million views plus appearances on The Tonight Show and The Late Show with Jay Leno.

2) Partnerships.  Here’s where you really need to think out of-the-box.  Customers, suppliers, other organizations in your industry, etc. all have their own market reach that could be tapped with little or no cost.  Here’s an example…

The marketing director of a large magazine approached one of their retail advertisers with this promotional concept:  promote a sweepstakes contest that would drive the consumer to the magazines’ website to register for a free e-newsletter and to enter into the sweeps contest.  The advertiser agreed and paid for the floor banners that were place in the isles of their retail stores.  The publisher gave the advertiser exclusive sponsorship and appropriate online exposure.  The results:  Several thousand folks signed up for the free e-newsletter that has become a revenue generator for the publisher.  The retail advertiser increased it’s brand awareness.  The revenue generated from this campaign was not divulged, but regardless the cost to the publisher was ZERO since the web work was produced in-house.

Do you have any such stories?  Have a great day!


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Tips for Improving marketing ROI

Greetings!  Here are a few tips to improve your marketing ROI.


Tip 1:  Keep testing your landing pages – make them relevant to your

             offer or search terms!


In addition to testing the creative elements (copy/design) and offer on your landing

pages, making the pages more relevant to your audience can have a big impact

on conversion rates.


According to a recent Marketing Sherpa survey of marketers, 68.2% of those

who tested “altering landing pages dynamically depending on offers or search terms”

reported that their conversions were “definitely better” after implementation.  According

to the survey, linking to a landing page with a search term was the single most effective

tactic for improving conversions.  Out of the 3,451 marketers surveyed, only 3% are

already automatically generating landing pages when specific items are searched for.




Tip 2:  Create Direct mail – to Web applications


Direct mail lists are still the “king” when you are looking to pinpoint your

direct response marketing.  “Cold” email solicitations just do not measure up –the lists

are not as targeted, and most messages are deleted and treated as “spam”.  If you are

looking for a way to reduce mail costs, then one solution is a “web driver” approach.


Creating simple direct mail packages that drive responses directly to the web

have several advantages.  First of all, they cost less.  The direct mail piece is primarily

creating excitement and giving the recipient a reason to check out the offer —the landing

page does the selling.  And, that leads to the second benefit— the low cost variable landing page.  It’s low cost to produce (generally $1000-$3000 if outsourced) and there are no printing/production costs.  Today’s technology allows you to produce 1:to:1 communications based on your database.  For example, in a B-to-B application, the landing page can be personalized by industry segment or by purchase history.  In a B-to-C application, the landing page can be personalized by demographics. 


Tip 3: Lift Conversion with Personalized URL’s

            Personalized URL’s in a direct mail piece is a powerful device in reaching your consumer. Advertisers can expect to see a 20% lift, in fact, on conversion by implementing personalized URL’s (or PURL’s) according to a MarketingSherpa study.

            When a consumer receives a piece of direct mail, postcard or an email, they are driven to their own customized landing page via their PURL. So how does this work? When the PURL is entered into a browser the database is triggered and will then serve a landing page for this specific consumer based on that unique URL. The consumer is given a direct, and personalized, communication that requires little or no effort on their part. The customization evokes a sense of comfort with the consumer prompting them to respond. Furthermore, the more simplified the consumer process, the higher the response. Utilizing this method increases the advertiser’s conversion performance dramatically.

            PURL’s are also powerful in aggregating valuable data. The respondent’s behavior will be in invaluable, as you have captured information that can be helpful in understanding how your services are viewed to a consumer as well as individual consumer data.  

Always tailor your PURL’s based on these learning’s in order to continue increasing your conversion and response rate.


Tip 4: Harness the Power of Social Media


            According to MarketingSherpa’s recent February statistics 46% of firms have not accepted and adapted to social media, citing a lack of understanding as their main reason for their leisurely approach to involvement. Social Media has been paving the way for itself over the course of the past few years. As the channel evolves in leaps and bounds and economic downturn is just the sort of spark to ignite the blaze. More and more companies are cutting back on their budgets in response to more and more consumer’s uncertainty in the current economic climate. Both are consequentially spending less. Consumers are more cynical than ever. So how does a company maintain, and even expand, its consumer base and ultimately sales during a recession?

Social Media and Guerilla Marketing tactics allow companies and brands to effectively communicate with their audience. They also, when effectively harnessed, allow for an increase in their consumer base in the most efficient way the web has seen. Having and honest and public conversation with your consumers will fuel brand ambassadorship, igniting trust and furthermore loyalty. Allowing consumers to voice their concerns, issues and generally engage with the brand creates a direct line of trust. In years past this sort of dialogue could not be obtained or purchased. The savvy marketer understands that these conversations are currently happening all around them and they can authentically join in or continue to struggle with budget cuts and consumer’s ability to publicly rant or rave about their company or brand.



Tip 5: Fine tune your Pay Per Click Campaigns

            As you know, Pay Per Click advertising is one of the most cost effective ways to target sales via the internet. Countless advertisers seek this tactic due to the highly appealing nature off allowing an advertiser to only pay when their ad is clicked. For this reason, many advertisers manage their own PPC campaigns. However, creating and maintaining an efficient and effective PPC campaign requires a breadth of research and skill.

            Keyword selection requires more than just selecting words that relate to your industry and services. Avoid doing so, as it can easily return irrelevant clicks that may increase site traffic but ultimately do not return valid inquiries. This translates to a wasted budget. Be cautious when selecting the number of keywords you are bidding on. Quantity is not quality in matters of PPC. Select only well researched and relevant keywords.

            Ensure that you have written engaging copy. What is normally considered as engaging copy in the marketing world does not necessarily translate to the confining limitations of a PPC ad. A professional or firm can guide you as to what is enticing and will generate action in this specific marketplace.

            Pay close attention to your Click Through Rate! Monitor your campaign, as a slight variation can greatly impact its performance. One of the biggest mistakes an advertiser will make is launching a PPC campaign and letting it sit, without consistently analyzing and optimizing based on performance. Allow the campaign to ramp up after changes are made and closely monitor the impact of the changes. Give the modifications you’ve made enough time to settle and confirm their actual impact, then analyze.

Many factors contribute to your overall PPC campaign performance: the relevance of the keyword, how well your copy is tailored to this audience and the consistent analysis of your campaign. Be sure to consider all of these factors when engaging in and fine-tuning a PPC campaign. As always, practice makes perfect.




Frank Hudetz of Solar Communications reports a 33 percent lift in pURL campaigns.

Marketing Sherpa. May 7th, PURL’s can increase conversion 20%



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