Blogging Leads to Sales

Business owners sometimes treat their online marketing like flossing. They know they should do it, but it nevertheless gets buried under the tasks of running the day-to-day business. Included in this bucket of online marketing is the concept of blogging. “What? How’s that going to grow my business?”

What is a blog?

First off, let’s explore what a blog actually is and how it’s part of the bigger picture. A blog, abbreviated for web+log, is typically an informational section of your website that allows for short content for frequent distribution. Meaning, it’s less words than heavy-duty whitepaper and it’s more informative than a Tweet. Blogs are also formatted fairly consistently with ability to filter through them with categories or tags that essential build a library of reference for the website visitors. They are also written in a unique way as people tend to read, or should I say scan, online differently than print. Bullet points, numerical ordering, and short paragraphs are more effective than long prose.

Why do website visitors value blogs?

Depending on the objective of the blog, visitors can get a lot out of it. Some companies use blogs less as a sales tool and more as a personality disseminator. In other words, it’s a way for employees to showcase their quirky attitudes or display their friendly faces. This is sometimes a much-needed human touch, instead of the flat lines, drop shadows, and icons that overtake the online experience. A blog can also be a great continuous stream of education.

The most successful blogs strive to add value, meaning educate or solve a problem, with every blog post that gets published. It’s also beneficial because the post can be released in a timely matter. Getting a press release out into the media can be a much more daunting task then publishing a quick post announcing the release of a new product or the hiring of a new sales person.

Why do search engines value blogs?

Search engines value blogs because they hold content at the center of everything. The search engine ranking algorithms will always select content that adds value to the person doing the search over a stale site that has none. After all, if Google and Big return bad results and irrelevant content, then people will stop using them. Additionally, blogs are a great way to encourage links back to the website. If the blog post is valuable to the visitor, they will in many cases share that link with their social networks. This concept of creating content to be shared by users is called “Link Baiting” and helps dramatically increase a website’s search engine ranking. After all, every link pointing to your website counts as a vote, and like politics the more votes more popular you’ll be perceived.

How does blogging increase sales?

Higher ranking in the search engines directly correlates to more traffic flowing to a website. If that traffic is targeted correctly, then more traffic typically means more leads and more customers. It’s human nature that if you solve a problem for somebody, they will remember you and reciprocate. This applies directly to blogging as the more visitors that get helped; the more they will value helping company’s brand.

In a recent study, the 2012 State of Inbound Marketing by HubSpot, it was discovered that 92% of companies that responded acquired a customer through their blog if they posted multiple times per day. The numbers are still impressive for those that post daily at 78%, 2-3 times per week at 70%, and weekly at 66%. This data along with some other metrics in their report shows a direct correlation between blogging and customer acquisition. Blogging was recorded as the most effective lead generation category as being “Below Average Cost Per Lead.”

Summary and Next Steps

Blogging, or publishing web content on a regular basis, can be an effective tool for adding additional value to prospects and customers. It provides for a strong online foundation that encourages other websites to link to the posts and for visitors to share them on social networks. It’s been found that blogging can increase traffic significantly and be another avenue to generate leads. If you’re looking to get started, then carve out an area of your site today and start writing. Good luck!

5 Easy Black Friday Marketing Tips You Still Have Time For

Black Friday (November 23, 2012) is going to be the most popular shopping day of the year in the United States and your company has the opportunity to participate. Whether your business is a retail store, local restaurant, or complex B2B software provider, you can take advantage of the hype of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (November 26, 2012).

Why are these days important to your business?

  1. Customers are in the emotional mindset to spend money. Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is now fast approaching. Black Friday is typically the first opportunity to grab some great items before the budget starts to get tight.
  2. Customers are engaging with your marketing. You spend the entire year trying to grab the attention of your customers and prospects through with marketing collateral. At this time of year, your customers will come to you. Finding deals and discounts becomes a game and your marketing is useful research material!
  3. Customers expect your participation. There is so much participation in this pseudo-holiday that your customers will expect you to offer them something. Use this as an opportunity to show appreciation for their continuous business. A special offer for loyal customers can be a very effective “Thank You.”

5 Black Friday Marketing Tips

  1. Start today – Spend some time mapping out what your special offer will be and don’t be afraid to build some buzz before the big day. You’ll have a lot of competition for your customer’s time and attention. Grab them now.
  2. Schedule an emailEmail marketing is a fantastic marketing tool to deliver your timely Black Friday message. I’m always surprised at how often many small businesses miss this easy opportunity. If you’ve got a list of email addresses that you regularly send to, create a special communication and schedule it to go out on November 23rd.
  3. Grow with social – Black Friday is a great opportunity to start or build on your social media. You’ll naturally create content that you can spread across your Facebook Page, Twitter Profile, Pinterest board, and LinkedIn company page. If someone shares your message, take the time to thank them and start a conversation. The worst thing you can do is be purely one-way marketing. Create some relationships.
  4. Capture demand digitally – Search engine marketing is not a marketing tool that creates demand, it’s a medium that captures it. You’ll be getting a large number of prospects and customers looking for you as you promote your offers, brand name, and specials. Make sure they can quickly find you by buying up your branded keywords in Google and Bing. You’ll be happy you did.
  5. Focus on future sales – Use this opportunity to build a foundation of future sales. Collect phone numbers, email addresses, and information that you can use to target your prospects/customers in a few weeks or months. If you get a lot of new names then use coupons or expiring offers to bring them back.

More Useful Black Friday Marketing Articles

  • Black Friday Marketing Ideas for Small Business – View Article
  • 9 Small Business Marketing Tips for Black Friday – View Article
  • How To Sell More Before, During and After Black Friday – View Article
  • Black Friday Marketing Ideas for Non-Retail Businesses – View Article

Track Your Marketing with a Campaign ID

As marketers, we’ve all heard John Wanamaker’s famous quote…

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

The reason that this quote is so popular is because it resonates very well with business owners, entrepreneurs, and advertisers. It turns out to be fairly true due to the fact that many people don’t or don’t know how to set up their campaigns efficiently.

Agencies and marketing employees continuously attempt to justify their advertising budgets but they end up using buzz words like “awareness”, “frequency”, and “reach.” Although these are important concepts, the truth is they pop up because of a lack of insight into the true number of conversions. This is especially true for complex industries where a product is sold through multiple third parties or for long purchase cycles with many prospect touch points.

So what do you do?

One idea is leveraging the power of the Campaign ID. By Campaign ID, I’m talking about the “Lead Source” or where the customer, account, or prospect came from. If you have multiple touch points, it may be advantageous to track multiple Campaign IDs or create rules such as first/last Campaign ID attached to that lead wins. The important part is that you know where your customers and prospects are coming from and attributing their transactions with their related marketing campaigns.

The way to accomplish this is to store your Campaign ID inside of your customer relationship database (CRM). At the time of entering that contact, whether via a sales rep or an online registration form, you must pass the “Campaign ID” into a field in the database. It’s easy to accomplish this online but also possible through in-store sales, tracked phone calls, and traditional advertising. You just have to always ask “How did you hear about us?” or “Have you seen any of our marketing lately?” When you get the answer, be consistent and add your Campaign ID to that customer.

What can you track with a campaign ID?

  • Paid Search
  • Display Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Webinars
  • Phone Calls
  • Billboards
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Television

For some of the more traditional advertising such as billboards, magazines, newspapers, and television you’ll need to develop a strong call-to-action (CTA) that drives people either online or to call a phone number. Make the phone number unique for each campaign and measure your conversion rate. How many people called the number and became customers? Compare that with some of your other campaigns and you’ll begin to see where you can spend your advertising dollars the most efficiently.

Brand awareness is import. If your prospects don’t remember your brand or recognize who you are then they likely won’t become customers anytime soon. That being said, it’s also important to be driving towards advertising that is efficient, measurable, and sales centered. Focus less on the impressions/views and more on the engagements that are further down the purchase funnel. That is the goal of utilizing the campaign ID.

Get Started with Pay-Per-Click Advertising

In the world of online marketing, pay-per-click campaigns are an advertising medium that marketers use on a regular basis. This method of marketing can provide a number of benefits to webmasters that you can’t find elsewhere. If you haven’t considered getting involved with this strategy, there are two advantages for using pay-per-click advertising. Before we get into these two advantages of this medium, lets explore what PPC is.

What is Pay-Per-Click?

Pay-per-click is a marketing method that is primarily offered by search engines like Google. With this strategy, you sign-up for an account as an advertiser and then create an ad campaign. You come up with an ad, a link to your site and keywords that trigger the ad. You set the amount that you are willing to pay for each click on your ad. Then when someone types in a keyword that you have listed in your campaign, your ad will show up in the advertising section of the search engine results. If someone clicks on the ad, they are taken to your website. You then pay a fee for each person who clicks on one of the ads.

1) Pay-per-click works with your branding strategy by increasing traffic

One way that you could effectively use pay-per-click marketing is to increase the overall traffic to your website. Pay-per-click marketing can be a highly effective way to bring targeted traffic to your site. Depending on the niche that you are targeting, it may not be that expensive to get visitors to your site. The best part is that the people who come to your site from these ad campaigns are actively seeking what you have to offer. This means that you’re not just throwing money away to get people to your site who may or may not be interested in what you have to offer. This makes it more likely that you will be able to increase sales or conversions. However, the positive takeaway you can count on is the brand awareness associated with starting a pay per click campaign.

2) Pay-per-click is effective for conversion testing that increase sales

Another advantage when it comes to taking advantage of pay-per-click marketing is to use the traffic to test your regular site pages or sales pages. If you are building a new site, it probably doesn’t have much weight with the search engines yet. This makes it difficult to get any traffic to the site. Without traffic, it can be difficult to tell if what you are doing is actually working or even something that people will purchase. By purchasing some traffic for the site with pay-per-click marketing, you can get a lot of people there quickly, so you can see if your design actually works and whether your market is actively seeking to purchase your product or service.

Something Important To Consider

When it comes to using pay-per-click marketing, you can definitely get results quickly. However, you have to be careful that you don’t spend too much money with this technique. If you set your daily budget too high, you could end up paying a very big bill for all of the traffic that you get. Make sure and set a spending daily spending limit to your campaign. And remember, Google may go above that limit in any given day but it will offset the over spending less in another given day. Google does this in order to try and maximize your click through ratio.