One of the goals of marketing is to generate qualified leads to increase sales. Small business owners are always thinking about prospects and ways to capture those that come to their website. Information is continually being shared with visitors so they feel the need to fill out a form, and provide their contact information to begin the buying process and become a customer. One of the best ways to share content and obtain visitor information is by using calls-to-action (CTAs) and landing pages.
The overall goal of CTAs and landing pages is to generate qualified leads for your business that eventually turns into revenue.
To begin developing and creating CTAs and landing pages, you must determine where the CTAs should be placed.
- On the website homepage, include at least 2 CTAs above the page fold (you shouldn’t have to scroll down to see the CTAs).
- Have one CTA on every page that links to a landing page.
- Incorporate different CTAs for the different stages of the buying cycle.
- CTAs should be added to the sidebar on your blog page.
- CTAs should be added at the end of blog posts.
- Include at least one CTA on thank you pages after someone has downloaded content.
Develop Optimized Calls-to-Action
- Should clearly describe what the offer is and what the visitor will be getting.
- Should be action-oriented – use verbs such as “Download” or “Register.”
- Should be above the page fold.
- Should “pop” off the page – add contrast.
Develop Optimized Landing Pages
- Action should be clear.
- Explain the value of the offer.
- Use bullet points.
- Keep the form short. The form should help you contact or qualify the lead.
- Do not include any navigation or other links.
- Keep the content above the page fold.
- Include at least one relevant image.
- Have the page redirect to a thank you page after the form has been submitted.
Creating calls-to-action and landing pages will help attract and engage with your website visitors. CTAs and landing pages promote and guide visitors to specific content on your website. The content being promoted in the CTAs and landing pages should provide real value to your visitors and demonstrate thought leadership, which can help build trust, credibility and increase your leads and sales.
What offers and calls-to-action have you responded to in the past? Why and how did they get your attention? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.
Have you ever tried to figure out why some of your tweets are retweeted more than others? Or why some of them are ignored?
There are a few techniques that can help you spread and amplify your tweets, including tweeting at ideal times and using popular Twitter hashtags. I’ve covered a few of them in two recent posts, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube: Strategic Marketing Best Practices and 11 Effective Twitter Strategies for Brands.
Here’s an infographic from Quick Sprout that summarizes some best practices and common factors that contribute to retweeting success…
Social media is not a quick fix. That said, there are some seemingly small and basic steps we can take to help current and prospective customers and contacts know where we are on social networks, and as a result encourage them to connect with us there.
Here are six ways to make it easier for people to find us on our social networks:
1. Include social media icons on your website
Including Social Media icons that link through to your social networks is pretty basic but sometimes forgotten.
As important, and often missed, is to code the links for your social media icons so that they open in a NEW browser tab when clicked. If this isn’t done your website closes and your social network opens.
If your online visitors are at all like me, they’ll feel frustrated that your website closed when they clicked on the social media icon. When all they really wanted to do was have a ‘peek’ at your social network(s) before returning to your website. If that’s the case, chances are they’re onto a new website rather than returning to yours.
2. Add social plug-ins or widgets to your website
Particularly for those who are new to your website, possibly checking you out, incorporating a feed that shows some of your activity on Twitter or your Facebook Page may help give visitors a sense of your business.
This also provides an easy way for people to ‘like’ your Facebook Page and ‘follow’ you on Twitter, without leaving your website.
For more information and the appropriate code:
3. Include links to your social networks and website on all of your social networks
Look for opportunities to include your website address and the distinct or vanity URL for your social networks in as many places as possible.
This subtly reminds people where they can connect with you online and makes it easy for them to do so.
This raises the next point . . .
4. Use a distinct Vanity URL for each of your social networks
Having your own branded and distinct Vanity URLs for each of your social networks is important. Most of the top social networks like Twitter, Pinterest and more recently Facebook have you create this distinct URL when you sign up for a new social network, but not all do.
Different networks use different names for these Vanity URLs: Username, Address, Public Profile, etc. Essentially they are branded/distinct/Vanity URLs that make your social networks easier to remember and share in print. For instance …
LinkedIn provides a URL something like this linkedin.com/pub/sue-cockburn/80/293/303/ rather than linkedin.com/in/SueCockburn. The former is not user friendly nor will it be easy to print on a business card. You can however go into your profile and create your own Vanity URL. LinkedIn calls this a Public Profile URL.
To create your Public Profile URL:
- Click on ‘Profile’ then on ‘edit profile’.
- Look beneath your photo on the left side of the page for your existing URL.
- Click on the ‘edit’ link to the right of your name
- On the page that opens up go to the right side of the page and look for ‘Customize your public profile URL’.
- Create your distinct/branded Public Profile URL.
For most of us, Google+ doesn’t allow you to create a distinct Username or Vanity URL, at this time, when you create your account. The URL they provide is more like this: plus.google.com/u/0/104293957075840180131
To make an easy to remember path/distinct URL to your Google+ account consider one of these options:
- Create website link that forwards to your Google+ account (i.e. gplus.GeorgeSmith.com) – not ideal but it works
- Use a service like gplus.to to create a Vanity URL gplus.to/JohnSmith
OLDER FACEBOOK PAGES
Facebook now has you create a Facebook Address or vanity URL when you create your business Page.
BUT, if you’ve had a Page for more than a few months, and haven’t already gone into your “Basic Information” settings and created a distinct username or vanity URL, you should do so now.
- Open up the ‘Admin Panel’ on your Page
- Click on ‘Edit Page’ and then ‘Update Info’
- Look for ‘Username’ and click on the link to the right of it that walks you through the process of creating your Facebook Address
If you haven’t already created a Facebook Address (Username) for your Page, then it is likely something like this: facebook.com/pages/Marys-Spa/173089451105629?fref=pb.
Good luck trying to print that on a business card!
Distinct or Vanity URLs are important as:
- They help make it easier for people to find you on social networks
- They make your social network names simpler to remember and less difficult to find, for you and others
- They can be printed on a business card or other print material – assuming you haven’t used a really long name in the branded portion!
A note about Title Casing
It’s a good idea to title case your brand specific information in your Vanity URL. Doing so makes it stand out, easier to read and potentially remember.
Consider this facebook.com/suessimplestitches as opposed to this facebook.com/SuesSimpleStitches or twitter.com/bobsautoshop or twitter.com/BobsAutoShop. Title casing can make the branded portion of your URLs readable at a glance.
5. Add your social networks as clickable links to your email signature
This allows people to see the social networks you’re on and connect with you, or check you out. Good for them and good for you.
6. Include your social network addresses on your print material
Share your major social networks on your print material: business cards, invoices, letterhead, in-store and mail out fliers, brochures, newspaper ads. Of course, it goes without saying, these should all be added to any eNewsletters you send out too – as clickable links.
As social media becomes more and more mainstream, these basics will become more and more important.
While search engine optimization and organic traffic are not a thing of the past and never will be, social media allows you to actually communicate with the ones who care about your brand.
So anyway, the hot three networks for marketers right now are Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter.
Lots can be said about Twitter. You can come across a ton of posts providing tips, tricks and different strategies to get you followers and retweets.
All of this however brings a ton of different misconceptions. And on Twitter there are lots of “traditionalists” so to say – people who never take their social media presence a step further and who simply follow the stereotypes.
Well in order to maximize your Twitter presence and get some fresh traffic, sometimes you have to steer away from commonly adopted norms. Here are six truths about Twitter that you have to accept if you want to improve your productivity and results:
Truth #1. More Twitter Followers Should be One of Your Goals
Are you one of those folks who believe numbers don’t matter? Are you one of those guys whose favorite phrase is quality over quantity?
Well for good or bad numbers do play a role in the social media world. The reality is that how much traffic you will get (which should after all be your main social media goal) hugely depends on the amount of followers you have. And there’s really no such thing as “quality” followers. There are those who might be interested in what you have to say and those who simply don’t care.
I didn’t use the word “might” accidentally. After all, it’s all up to you to present your blog or website in the best light possible.
And with saying that traffic is the main metric you should be measuring, I lied a little…
Lots of people might click on your tweets and that will translate into a visit. Not all however will actually start reading. And from those who start reading not all will agree with you or like your style.
The idea is that you want the traffic to return. You need repeat visitors – those are truly the folks who might end up subscribing to your list, buying a product you are promoting or trying out a service you offer.
And from that point of view, going for more followers is the right strategy. The more people following your tweets, the more people will land on your blog, the more people will enjoy what you share and the more people will come back for more. Thus you will convert more people based on the call to actions you have placed on your blog. That’s far from complicated math, is it?
Truth #2. Scheduling Updates Won’t Hurt Your Reputation
It’s a weird prejudice that some people have about tweeting. Many believe that tweets should be a “personal” thing. And quite frankly I never actually understood the meaning of that. Unless you are chatting with someone, tweets can’t be personal.
So as “impersonal” as it might seem, scheduling tweets, instead of signing in every hour or so to share something you just discovered, makes for a lot of saved minutes. Minutes that you can put towards something else – like working on that guest article… The same that is sitting there and collecting dust for weeks…
In my case I use Buffer. The app works with preset tweeting times. You first choose the days on which you are going to tweet and also the times when the different tweets will be posted. Basically I am tweeting at the same hour, same minute and same second every single day.
And guess what – people simply don’t care! They want good content – they get good content, that’s all that matters!
Truth #3. Using Lists Can Help You in More than One Way
As you probably know by now, creating lists is a great way to split all the noise in your Twitter stream and get the content you’d actually like to read. That’s mainly what they are meant to do.
And that is all great. However lists can be utilized in different ways as well. Here is what I have tried and found of a good use:
- List of people who retweet you – Having those folks in a list will give you easy access to their shares, so that you can also retweet them every now and then as a way to say thank you. That is also a great way to solidify your relationship with them.
- List of bloggers of your level – Although you probably won’t turn those into brand advocates, staying updated to what they have to say is important. Firstly because you have to be relevant to what’s going on in your niche and secondly because having easy access to their content might help you produce ideas for future blog posts.
- List of the “small players” – A good thing to do would be to discover some less-well-known bloggers in your niche and add them to a list. Once again the idea is to always stay tuned to their latest content and retweet it if it’s good enough. That won’t be left unnoticed and you are almost sure to get retweets on your own content in return.
The principle here is “help and be helped”.
Truth #4. Unfollowing the Inactives Isn’t a Crime
Seems like traditionalists hate everything when it comes to automation (you can check my post: “Automating Social Media: Do the Critics Have a Point” for more thoughts on the topic). One of the reasons, they say, is authenticity.
And there is no denying. In order to succeed in one way or another, you need to stand out. And for that to happen, you need to be unique…
But here’s the thing. When someone considers following you, your ratio (i.e. the relation between followers and people you follow) matters.
Wouldn’t you be a little more inclined to follow a guy, who follows 1,000 but who is followed by 4,000, than someone who has 2,000 followers and 2,200 friends?
The best way to go about this is by unfollowing the inactives. Those are people who don’t have much to say and who basically are’t there most of the time. It might be worth unfollowing them to save space for the ones who are more actively engaging.
What you can do is to log in to ManageFlitter, click on “Everyone You Follow”, sort by date and get going! Remove all those who haven’t tweeted anything for more than seven-eight days and see how it works!
Truth #5. Following People Gets You More Followers
I’ve heard all kinds of stories about how getting Twitter followers works. Some of them are true, others are false and a third part I haven’t tried…
Nowadays “content is king” is probably the most popular cliché out here in the internet marketing realm…
Can content alone get you in front of a new audience however?
Retweets might result in additional exposure. Someone might give you a shoutout or recommend you. You might obtain a couple of thousand followers via your blog. All this would make for a very slow progress though…
The reality is that you just have to follow new people. Some will follow you back, some won’t. That kind of activity however creates a buzz. A buzz that has helped me discover loyal supporters – tweeps who click and retweet almost every piece I publish.
And yes, this often times means following people who you don’t know and who don’t know you. However the chances are that the bigger part of the ones you follow will take a look at your profile – they might tweet something welcoming or they might comment on something you tweeted. That along with the new followers you might get, is also a great opportunity to start the conversation and actually create new contacts.
Truth #6. Replying Isn’t Always Worth the Time
Once you get into social media and blogging one of the phrases you start hearing is “you have to always be there”, meaning you should be logged in to your social accounts at all time, waiting to reply to those who mention you.
And although there’s really nothing bad in this…
If you’d really like to be productive, you should pay just a little less attention to those kinds of social media tasks. As important as they are, often times we put far too much emphasis on chatting and we end up wasting time that could’ve been put towards more important things, such as writing for example.
In order to minimize the time I spent chatting and still reply to most of my mentions, I have a “replying schedule” in place. The rule is to basically reply three times a day, whenever I find myself wondering what to do.
You see – that goes in between everything else.
Being constantly online shouldn’t be your main concern. Also – no – you don’t have to reply to every mention. Doing that might result in a stream full of “Thanks for the RT” or “Thanks for the follow” kind of messages. That is really not what you call engagement.
To Wrap it Up…
All in all what I came to realize some months after getting into Twitter was that not everything you read has been put to the test and not all the “warning signs” are actually real. Some tasks might seem bad in terms of credibility and authenticity, but in reality they simply aren’t. What are your thoughts – do you agree to the points I’ve made in the post? Do you have something to add up? Do share your two cents in the comments section!
Guest Author: Daniel Sharkov is an 18 year old student, marketer, blogger and a social media enthusiast. Make sure to check out Reviewz N Tips – the place, where he shares his insights and experience!
Want to Learn More About How to Create Compelling Content that Your Audience Wants to Read, View and Share?
My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.
It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.
I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 130,000.
Social media has grown from a curiosity to an integral piece of corporate strategy in the space of only a few years. Nearly overnight, companies have brought on whole teams of specialists to craft effective social media strategies and manage multiplying numbers of social media accounts. Companies are hungry for better social media tools to engage their constituents. Below is a list of five features key to delivering on a social media strategy.
Social media doesn’t sleep, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to! Ensure your social media management tool of choice allows you to schedule messages in advance. So, even while you are in meetings with clients in New York, you can schedule messages to go out to your customers in Tokyo during their workday.
If you want to take scheduling to the next level, look for a tool that offers the ability to schedule large batches of messages at once. This will be an incredibly useful time-saver when it comes to managing campaigns or contests that require heavy messaging around a certain period of time
When it comes to interacting with your customers, those in different locations may have different needs, speak different languages or follow different trends. You’re going to want a tool that optimizes your searches and filters your searches by language to help you curate relevant content for different demographics.
Social media is also an effective way for businesses to keep their finger on the pulse. Setting up keyword search streams provides insight into what your customers think is trendy. This can assist with the development of a marketing strategy that focuses on your customer’s lifestyles and personal preferences.
Keywords are useful for keeping track of competitors’ activities but they’re also useful for tracking brands that are complementary to your offering. If your product or service is often purchased in conjunction with another product or service, keep an eye on the complementary product’s social media activity to take advantage of promotions or recent sales, as these are potential leads ready to be converted.
It takes two to tango, especially when it comes to being social. Collaboration is key when it comes to developing and executing an effective social media campaign. Ensure your social media management tool enables you to seamlessly collaborate with your team to ensure you execute an integrated social media management strategy.
Gone are the days of social media purely being about “building buzz.” It is now a line item in budgets as companies invest resources in these channels and there is an expectation for reports which show ROI for social media outreach.
Make sure your tool has the ability to analyze important metrics such as click-through rates on shortened links, clicks by region and top referrers. It’s also important to have access to Facebook Insights and Google Analytics.
The most effective tools will provide the ability to access in-depth granular metrics on the efficacy of your social media programs. This will allow you to determine which messages resulted in the highest number of conversions, which platform is providing the greatest return and which time of day is most effective to drive traffic.
WHAT IT TAKES TO GO PRO
Social media is here to stay and to maintain a competitive advantage, businesses need to stay abreast of this ever-evolving space. I’ve recently completed the training and become a Certified HootSuite Professional and have found that HootSuite is a tool many find very useful. I am also familiar with TweetDeck and Adobe Social. The point is, there are products out there to meet your needs.
What are you using to satisfy these 5 Must-haves?