thank you pages

Thank You Pages: More Than Just Good Manners

Thank You pages are for more than showing your good manners. They’re a great opportunity to further engage with customers, and move them further into the sales journey.

Let’s say you just converted a website visitor into a qualified lead.

You tweeted your offer to your target audience, someone came to your fully-optimized landing page, and then took the action you requested to receive your offer.

Congratulations! So, now what?

Well, you send them to a Thank You page, of course. But if your page contains a simple “Thank You” message, thereby ending the sales journey, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to develop an even stronger relationship with your customer.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#inboundmarketing #digitalmarketing”]Why Thank You pages are for more than just good manners[/tweetthis]

This can be done by using your Thank You page to again entice them with additional valuable offers, relevant content, or special opportunities. Here are some Thank You page best practice essentials, with thanks from Hubspot:

  1. Set expectations: Make sure the customer knows what the next step is. If you’re going to call within 2 – 3 business days, then you should say that. A simple “We’ll be in touch” doesn’t clearly communicate when you’re going to contact them, or how you’re going to do it.
  2. Show your navigation menu: Unlike the landing page, you don’t need to hide your navigation menu on your Thank You page. Now that they’ve converted, let them explore your website to get to know your brand better.
  3. Provide additional content: Link to blogs that relate to your offer, so your customer can learn more about your expertise.
  4. Try to convert again: If you have another relevant offer, feel free to provide another call to action and convert them again. Be careful here though, you don’t want to appear too aggressive.
  5. Encourage sharing: As with anything, you want your brand in front of as many eyes as possible. So offer the opportunity to share with a message along the lines of “I just downloaded this great ebook from…” to pique interest within social media.

One final note: avoid inline Thank You messaging on your landing page. Not only does it break all the above best practices, it leaves the customer with nowhere to go, and doesn’t do anything to improve the customer experience.

content creators

Content Creators: Are They Still Needed?

In an age when marketers are able to create their own content, are specialized content creators still needed?

These days, anyone can create content. Blog sites such as WordPress and Blogger make it easy to publish stories and articles, online tools like Canva make graphics development a snap, and videos can be easily shot and then edited on your own computer.

In other words, if you have a message, you have a platform.

Not only that, the myriad of social media channels allow these marketers to literally flood the Internet with messages, reaching thousands upon thousands of people at once.

Although this empowerment has allowed marketers to take content matters into their own hands, many content marketers feel that there is simply too much content out there. The focus has become in the quantity, rather than the quality, of the content produced.

This is because many marketers feel they need to constantly produce content to keep top of mind with their audience. That’s understandable, but I’d suggest that over time, these efforts will lose effectiveness as savvy consumers begin to see that the dearth of information they’re being exposed to may be substandard. The lack of quality may be due to marketers rushing content out for the sake of doing so, and by paying less attention to quality because they’re already tasked with so many other duties.

This might not be worrisome to large, well-known brands that already have a strong, loyal following. But what about the smaller organizations all fighting for attention in the same space? Shouldn’t they pull back on the quantity to focus more on quality and relevancy?

Of course they should. But how should they go about it?

I would suggest that marketers consider retaining freelance content creators who specialize in writing, images/graphics, and video production. Marketers can provide the freelancers with guidelines and templates to maintain consistency, and also serve as editors to ensure that the content meets set standards.

They can also arm the content creators with their organization’s business goals, to ensure that content creators submit work that is in line with these objectives. This will allow them to focus on other areas of their campaigns, while still having the final word over what content is published.

If marketers insist on creating their own content, they should at least seek out freelance editors, especially in the case of written content. Editors can make sure that the work is as concise, engaging, and error-free as possible. In this case, the marketer has more immediate control over the content, but better quality will be assured in the long run.

Do you create your own content, or retain freelance content creators? Tell me in the comments!

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo: A Viable Alternative to Google?

Increasing privacy concerns are leading customers away from Google to alternative search engines such as DuckDuckGo.

When you want to know something, almost anything at all, the first (and possibly only) action you might take is to Google it.

And why not? The results are often quick, reliable, and expansive. You want a pizza? Google can provide a large selection of neighbourhood pizza restaurants in a matter of seconds. On mobile? Just press on the phone number and you’re moments away from being connected.

There’s nothing like instant gratification when you have a sudden want.

The trouble is, for the foreseeable future, you might see pizza ads randomly popping up in your browser. Quite often, whatever you have previously searched for comes back to haunt you in the form of behavioural retargeting.

Although some folks might consider these ads jarring, or even intrusive, marketers consider them valuable tools to personalize the online experience. Ads need to be served, and data about your online activities is invaluable to provide you with the most relevant offers.

But with data privacy concerns increasing among consumers, alternatives to Google are becoming more popular. One of those alternatives is upstart DuckDuckGo.

Launched in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo calls itself “the search engine that doesn’t track you.” It answered over one billion queries in 2013, a clear indicator that its star is definitely on the rise.

That’s one billion opportunities that marketers who solely relied on Google missed out on.

In no way is DuckDuckGo an immediate threat to Google’s dominance in the search marketing space, but marketers would be wise to consider DuckDuckGo a great place to advertise as people become increasingly concerned with privacy over time.

moderating panels

Minimize the Panic When Moderating Panels

Moderating panels can be a rewarding exercise that results in professional growth. However, some preparation is necessary to ensure a lively discussion between the participants, provide an enjoyable experience for the audience, and minimize panic for the moderator.

Many professionals love being on panels. It gives them the opportunity to be in the spotlight for a short time, and provide their opinions on topics they know best.

After all, what better ways are there to establish yourself as an influencer than appearing on a panel in front of an audience who’s hungry for your insights?

Recently, I had the pleasure of moderating three panels at Fan Expo 2015 in Toronto. The topics involved the craft of writing, book publishing, and the future of the horror genre. I love moderating panels, and was happy to do it.

However, a lot of people don’t like the idea of acting as moderator. They consider it a thankless job that puts one in the unglamorous role of questioner rather than influencer. Besides, when was the last time you tuned into an interview for the interviewer, rather than the interviewee?

Also, all eyes are on the moderator to keep the conversation flowing, as well as maintain control of the panelists while watching the time. Moderators need to think on their feet, as opposed to just sit back and answer questions as they come.

These are all valid points, but I would counter that moderators, through all of this, are granted a position of leadership, motivation, and focus. They’re running the show, even if they’re not necessarily the stars of it.

Although that may sound great, it might also tend to give moderators-to-be cold feet.

Have you been tasked with moderating an upcoming panel? Don’t panic – here are some tips to help you run a silky-smooth discussion:

  • Prepare questions relevant to the audience: If your audience is comprised of startups, questions about setting up a company IPO might not be exactly relevant at this point. Keep your audience engaged with questions they would ask themselves, delivered in a way they can understand.
  • Send the questions to the participants beforehand: I’ve seen panels where the speakers were completely caught off guard by the questions posed to them. I have no idea why the moderator didn’t prep the panelists ahead of time, but doing so would have kept the awkward silences to a minimum. No one likes to be caught unprepared, or on the receiving end of a “gotcha” moment, so be sure to send the questions/topics list ahead of time.
  • Position the microphones and water for easy access: Look, you’re the host. And a good host makes sure that microphones are evenly distributed and water is within reach. You don’t have to run and get M&Ms for a high-maintenance participant, but these two little gestures show the panel that you care about making them comfortable.
  • Give warm introductions: You don’t have to provide biographies of the “born in a log cabin” sort (unless that log cabin is actually relevant to their story), but do mention your panelists’ career highlights, especially those that qualify them to be speaking to the topic at hand. Also, lead the audience in applause to welcome the panel as a whole once the introductions are complete. PS: Don’t forget to introduce yourself, but do so first and without making the whole event about you.
  • Segue from topic to topic smoothly: Once the last panelist has addressed a certain topic, find a way to quickly build on their point and smoothly segue into the next discussion. Abruptly asking the next question will feel awkward and stilted. You want to lead an easy-going exchange with your panelists.
  • Leave ample time for Q&A: If Q&A is part of the program, leaving 10 – 15 minutes at the end for questions is usually recommended to make sure everyone gets a chance to ask and respond.
  • Thank the panelists and the audience: A no-brainer, but again, make it about everyone in room except yourself.

Prior to Fan Expo, I had moderated a live writing panel at a large book festival with some degree of success. However, as any skilled interviewer will tell you, your success will depend on your ability to do your homework, prepare your notes, and communicate with your panelists and audience effectively.

After all, you’re just one of those three important elements of a successful panel discussion, but you’re also the conduit between the other two.

Have you had any panel success or horror stories? Share them in the comments!

digital marketing month

October is Digital Marketing Month!

Digital marketing is key to the success of any company serious about growth. October is Digital Marketing Month, and there is no shortage of articles, events, and workshops dedicated to this ever-changing, multi-faceted practice.

So much has been written about digital marketing that budding entrepreneurs might find it hard to take it all in. Although I consider myself a somewhat savvy marketer, I’m constantly discovering new digital strategies that help identify potential customers, streamline CRM, and send relevant messages to finely-targeted audiences.

Even with the whole month of October dedicated to all things digital marketing, there seem to be enough topics to last a whole quarter!

Digital Marketing Month boasts a huge amount of online webinars and live workshops that cover various aspects of digital marketing, including mobile, content, and social media. There’s no better time to learn about new and innovative ways to engage with your customers.

Want to stay informed on all the best digital marketing events, workshops, and articles? Follow us on Twitter. We’ll be tweeting about all things digital marketing and believe me, you won’t want to be left behind.

If you know of anything happening within the realm of digital marketing, please tweet us about it, using #DMMonth, and we’ll spread the word to our followers.

Enjoy these last days of summer, and be prepared to learn about some great new digital marketing strategies starting October 1st!

seo copywriting,copywriting,content management,content maintenance

Content Maintenance: Don’t Just Set It and Forget It!

Content maintenance is essential to keeping your website current, relevant, and SEO friendly. And it lets people know you’re still in business.

Have you ever visited a company’s website and wondered, “Are they even still in business?”

I have. If the content is outdated, the images are old, and the design was “Best in Show” in 2006, chances are I’ll be moving on. If the website isn’t up to current standards, the business probably isn’t either.

For many entrepreneurs, the launch of their website is the official launch of their business. They worked hard to create the perfect website, making sure to include relevant content and images, and putting effective SEO keywords in place.

But sometimes they get so busy that they forget about content maintenance.

[tweetthis]When it comes to your website, don’t just set it and forget it![/tweetthis]

Depending on your individual LOB, you might not need to check your site as much as others. My mechanic’s website hasn’t changed in ages, but he still does a brisk business. Most other SME’s, however, would be well served not to let a lot of time pass before logging on just to check analytics.

Of course, blogging once our twice per month helps keep things fresh. But does your blog comprise your entire site? Is it the only part of your business you want showing up in search engines? Of course not. Businesses need to practice regular content maintenance checks to stay forefront in customers’ minds.

Here are some things to keep a particular eye on when maintaining your content:

Update your Story: Is your About Us page more than couple of years old? Something new must have happened since then, so it would be wise to tell your story from the perspective of where you are now.

Check your Images: Unless you’re going for a retro look on purpose, your images should be current and reflect a modern image. No mile-wide ties with short sleeves!

Unlock those Keys: Keyword phrases for SEO should never be locked down. What might have worked on Alta Vista or Excite might not be relevant to Bing or Google. Keyword phrases need to be revisited regularly to keep your website as close to the top of search results as possible.

Watch your Language: Has your audience changed? Or, has your audience stayed the same, but do you need to address them differently? I might still like a brand from my younger years, but I don’t respond to language directed at 19 year-old me anymore. A language check might be in order, to adapt to your audience’s changing needs.

Regular content maintenance is essential to the life of your website and, by extension, your business. Revisit your content regularly!

So what have you done for your website lately? Share it in the comments below, and include the URL if you like!

blogging services, social evidence, call to action

Social Evidence: Testimonials in Action

Social evidence is more than just tooting your horn. It’s a useful tool to showcase your brand, and create valuable backlinks to your colleagues.

It’s gratifying to get positive testimonials from clients. Whether they come in the form of a LinkedIn recommendation, or through a customer feedback form, knowing we pleased our clients leaves us feeling great!

Testimonial web pages have been used by businesses for years. But with the recent surge of content marketing, testimonials have taken on a new role as important parts of content strategy.

Why? Because they provide social evidence of your brand’s expertise, and allow your products and services to shine.

Social evidence is stronger than your average Amazon book review, or those anonymous comments on Yelp. Social evidence is provided by your clients, and include their name, title, company, and often a headshot, making the testimonial much more credible. They also give you the opportunity to create backlinks to their website or LinkedIn profile, strengthening the entrepreneurial community as a whole.

[tweetthis]Social evidence showcases your brand like nothing else.[/tweetthis]

Here are some things to consider when creating your social evidence:

  • Asking before Acting: Before grabbing someone’s headshot or using their testimonials, be sure to ask their permission, stating clearly what you’ll be using them for. Don’t forget to offer the backlink!
  • Your Signature, Please: Use your contact’s digital signature (name, title, and company name) in the testimonial. That way, readers will know that a living, breathing human provided the comments.
  • Give Face: People love seeing people, so a professional headshot of your contact will add a degree of warmth (and authenticity) to the testimonial.
  • Share the Love: If they’re giving you social evidence, be sure to give them a backlink. Let them choose whether it’s to their company website, LinkedIn profile, or somewhere else. As long as it’s relevant, and there’s a direct benefit to your contact, it works!

You can use social evidence throughout your site, wherever customer engagement is necessary. It’s also the perfect complement to your calls-to-action, giving customers that extra incentive to download that eBook, join your newsletter, or attend your workshop.

How do you use social evidence in your content strategy? Let me know in the comments below!

source marketing

SOURCE Marketing: Kickstart your Content Strategy

SOURCE Marketing is a great new way of creating a content marketing strategy, with an eye on brand awareness and customer engagement.

Have you heard about content marketing?

Content marketing provides meaningful, relevant content to your target audience in order to raise brand awareness. And, unlike advertising, in which you’re simply pitching a product or service, content marketing invites customer engagement.

So how can you get started? Introducing our new content marketing system, SOURCE Marketing!

SOURCE Marketing is a simple six-step method of getting your content marketing strategy off the ground. You can use it for web pages, blogs, landing pages, or wherever you connect and engage with your audience.

Why do we call it SOURCE Marketing? Quite simply, SOURCE is an acronym for:

Simple English: Keep the language simple. When you speak to your audience in a way they understand and can relate to, your message will reassure the customer that you understand their needs. Learn more about using Simple English.

Opening Question or Statement: You need a powerful headline to draw people in. “Looking for a New Way to Increase Customer Traffic?” “Improve Search Results in 24 Hours!” “Stop Smoking in 7 Days!” Be exciting, enticing, and most of all, authentic.

[tweetthis]SOURCE Marketing enhances the customer’s online experience #contentmarketing[/tweetthis]

Unique Image: Your logo and headshot should be as unique as you are. But your page also needs an image which reflects and reinforces the page’s particular message. Use a sharp picture that demonstrates the benefits of working with you!

Rationale: What are your customer’s pain points? In a few short paragraphs, provide the rationale as to what makes you the best choice to help, and list the benefits of using your service. For example, will hiring you increase website traffic, improve search results, or simply raise awareness about their business? Whatever the benefits are, list them!

Call to Action (CTA): They’ve read your page. Now what do you want them to do? Signup for your newsletter? Download that eBook? Leave your site? Okay, definitely not that last one, but if you don’t have a strong CTA, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Here are some tips to creating great CTAs.

Endorsements: A must-have for landing pages, proven social evidence of your skills go a long way to demonstrating that you’re the best person for the job. One or two testimonials from clients will do, and provide a back link to their website or LinkedIn profile. Learn more about social evidence.

Have questions about how we can help your web copy using SOURCE Marketing? Get in touch with us!

content checklist

Content Marketing Month: Are You Ready?

May is Content Marketing Month. Have you checked your web content lately?

Sometimes, we take our web content for granted. We publish some web pages and then move on to something else, leaving the website to take care of itself.

But as your business evolves, changes inevitably happen. Shouldn’t your online content reflect those changes?

With Content Marketing Month (#contentmarketingmonth) just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to revisit your web content, and make sure you’re getting the most out of your online investment.

What should you be looking for? Here are just a few things to check:

  • About Us Page: Anything new and exciting happening in your business? Is there a new philosophy you’d like to share? If your About Us page is more than a year or two old, it might be time to freshen it up.
  • Your Changing Audience: Are you reaching a whole new audience than when you first started out? Consider using a new voice to reach those customers, while preserving your original message.
  • Check your Browsers: Does your content appear the same between Chrome, Explorer, Safari, and Firefox? Sometimes, text doesn’t transfer very nicely between different browsers, resulting in weird spacing or unwanted word truncation. Have a look in as many different browsers as you can, and make any necessary fixes.[tweetthis]May is Content Marketing Month! Are you ready? #contentmarketing #contentmarketingmonth[/tweetthis]
  • Go Mobile: It’s also a great time to have a look at your mobile content. With the nicer weather, people are spending more time outdoors and relying on their mobile devices to stay connected. Is your website fully optimized for smartphones and tablets?
  • Landing pages: Of course, these should be regularly monitored if you’re running a campaign. But if you’ve left them static for a while, consider changing things up a little. Even a minor tweak can bring in huge results!

Keeping on top of your content will keep your messages looking fresh, improve search results, and increase reader loyalty and engagement.

If you need help assessing your online content, why not contact us for a free content report? There’s no obligation, and you’ll be getting a professional second opinion on a crucial part of your content marketing setup.

Happy Content Marketing Month!

blogging services, social evidence, call to action

3 Handy Tips for a Better Call to Action

Is your call to action giving you the results you need? If not, try these three handy tips.

It’s a relatively small amount of text, but your call to action (CTA) plays a huge role in your overall content strategy.

Why? Your reader was kind enough to click on the link leading to your landing page. Now that they’re hooked, will you reel them in with a strong CTA, or let them swim away because your “bait” was weak?

A compelling CTA will get the user to do something that helps you reach your end goal. Whether you want them to follow you on Twitter, subscribe to your newsletter, or retain your services, now’s the time for action!

Is your CTA getting your readers to do what you want them to? If not, try these three tips that I’ve used to maximize my own response rates.

  • Use Simple English: Anyone who’s worked with me knows what a strong proponent I am of Simple English. Your call to action is no exception. Lose the industry jargon and tech-speak. Write like you would to a good friend, addressing them directly (using “you”, if possible), and employ power verbs that create a strong image in the reader’s head. For example, instead of “improve”, try something like “supercharge”.
  • Rehash: This is the perfect time to remind the reader why they read your article in the first place. In all likelihood, they’re facing the same challenge you’re addressing, and your call to action will reaffirm why you’re the person to help. Some examples: “If you’re ready to stop suffering from repetitive strain injury…” or “Is your marketing automation strategy working for you?”
  • Affirm the Benefits: What does the reader get by visiting your online catalogue, downloading your pdf, or buying your product? How does it help them? Affirm the benefits clearly, in a few bullet points, and then close with one final, killer statement, such as, “If you’re ready to lead a smoke-free life…”

Remember, a simple “Like us on Facebook” probably won’t result in much, because the value proposition isn’t clear to the reader. They need to know what they’re getting in return for doing what you ask.

And when they do respond, you’ll be getting something too: the opportunity to make money.

What call to action tips or tricks work for you? Let me know in the comment section below!