Think your marketing technology (MarTech) stack is king? Pull yourself out of 2017. Your customers are dropping out of your funnel. Engagement is down. The CEO is on you to get results... today. Where can you find more efficient ways to get the job done? A better MarTech stack. If you aren't using a diverse set of tools, you're likely falling behind. Marketing departments around the world are scrambling to find the best ways to identify and engage their customers. Are you wondering why your team can't find more customers? Or better satisfy your existing profit centers? It's because your MarTech stack needs a facelift. An upgrade to help you better serve customer needs and enable easy onboarding. Like a valley girl without botox, a business in 2018 without a proper stack is showing its true age. But with over 5,000 MarTech options available, finding the right tools for the job can be daunting. Luckily, I've got your back. Get your MarTech stack ready for the future with the hottest apps on the block. 1. Salesforce Managing customer relations is key to growing your business. It's 5x less expensive to keep an existing customer than to sell to a new one.
But upselling and reselling to existing customers presents a big challenge. Just because someone bought from you once doesn't mean they'll do it again or stick around forever. You need to manage and nurture the customer relationship. When it comes to that, Salesforce continues to steal the CRM “best in show” - and with good reason. It recently topped Fortune's list of 100 best companies to work for in 2018 and has been able to retain consistent growth behind its experienced leadership. What's their secret to being the biggest SaaS shark in the ocean? It's one of the most customizable CRMs out there and has been battle-tested for nearly two decades. It has integrations for just about every use case with it's AppExchange being second to none.
With AppExchange, you can find, locate and utilize different applications like you would plugins on WordPress. Businesses of all sizes use it and love it. Whether you are a mom-and-pop shop getting started or a large enterprise org, Salesforce has seen your use case before and has a solution. Dashboards are full of comprehensive data that you can use to build customers from small lifetime values to high lifetime values.
Salesforce is king when it comes to customer relationship management. 2. Hootsuite When it comes to social media, today's consumer is everywhere. In fact, the average consumer has seven different social media accounts spread across multiple platforms. While that presents an opportunity in the form of reaching new customers with multi-channel strategies, it also creates an internal nightmare when it comes to managing it. Posting, liking, commenting and engaging on seven platforms? That's a full-time job. But not when you take advantage of platforms like Hootsuite.
Hootsuite is a necessity for managing your social media presence. While Facebook Advertising is primarily about “speaking” to your customers, Hootsuite should be used to “listen” and engage. Of course, finding a way to listen to multiple channels at the same time is difficult. Hootsuite solves the problem by managing all your social channels in one place. By using a unique dashboard to monitor unlimited streams from all the social media channels your team uses, you can schedule, optimize and interact with consumers in just minutes on any platform.
With integrated analytics dashboards, pulling up reports for your marketing and sales teams is easy. [center] Connecting to diverse content systems beyond social, you can pull up free stock images to aid your social campaigns:
The platform is decked to the fullest, helping you manage social media with one tool in a sector that normally requires multiple. 3. Google AdWords Reaching new customers is key to scaling your business. And there's possibly no better place to do that than advertising with AdWords. Despite Facebook's massive growth, Google AdWords is still the most widely used advertising platform in the world. In fact, getting certified in AdWords is seen as a necessity for most entry-level digital marketing professionals. While most people are interested in Facebook, here's why you should keep AdWords in your toolbox: AdWords packs a punch in the form of intent. If cleanliness is next to godliness, then intent is next to customer acquisition. On platforms like Facebook, people aren't there to see ads or find products. They are engaging with friends, family, and funny videos. But on AdWords, people are actively searching via keywords to find solutions to their problems:
They want help ASAP. So you can virtually skip the typical funnel process and get down to selling. On top of intent, AdWords packs reach. Google handles over 40,000 searches every second. Not to mention over 3.5 billion each day and 1.2 trillion each year. With AdWords, you can also advertise on YouTube, a platform with 1.5 billion monthly active users who watch more than an hour of content daily. In terms of support, you have access to dedicated account managers that will help run and optimize your campaigns. The dashboard is extremely easy to use, too.
With diverse demographic targeting and custom audiences, you can reach users with Facebook-like specificity.
AdWords is the bread-and-butter of PPC advertising and will continue to dominate with its massive user base. Add it to your stack and get your piece of the pie today. 4. Optimizely Running tests is critical to finding success. Whether in product creation, marketing development or sales. Test and test again. But when most A/B tests fail, you often can't rely on your own, basic marketing tests to provide statistically significant data. Let Optimizely take your experiments by the horns to stay ahead of the competition.
Test against your assumptions to build better campaigns that capture more users and increase retention. People will think you became a guru overnight. There are a number of ways you can impress your team with Optimizely. Use Optimizely X, and you can experiment across “every device, every channel, and every customer touchpoint.”
With unlimited users, you can easily collaborate with anyone to build dashboards that will make your executive team happy. Show the world your technical prowess by empowering developers to support your optimization marketing tech. Optimizely powers optimization and testing for some of the largest companies on the planet for a reason: It simplifies testing and provides accurate, effective results. 5. Crazy Egg Every marketer thinks they understand their customers. Their pain points, wants and needs. But when it comes to driving sales, do you know how the user experienced your site? What they loved or hated? Unless you are using a heat mapping tool like Crazy Egg, you likely don't.
Crazy Egg is known as a heatmapping tool that provides an X-ray of how visitors are interacting with your site. They were one of the first in the space, and remain the top player for a few main reasons. With Crazy Egg, you can see which part of your pages users click on the most, where they are spending the most time (on a per-page basis), and what areas are being completely ignored. They offer four different views, but Heatmap and Scrollmap are where it's at. Heatmap allows you to see where users are clicking and Scrollmap allows you to see where users are spending the most time (especially helpful for those of you producing long-form content).
Crazy Egg allows you to A/B test different variations of pages so you can continue to make iterations. Getting insights on how your users interact with you is invaluable for optimization. Quit your slacking and start using heatmaps. Speaking of slacking... 6. Slack Collaborating and communicating across teams and departments shouldn't be a boring, tedious or annoying process. And, it shouldn't be an afterthought, either. According to HubSpot, the more aligned your sales and marketing team is, the better overall growth you'll achieve. And that's where Slack comes into play.
With Slack, all of your team communication exists in one place. You can message individuals directly, create a group, and create Slack channels to keep conversations topical and organized.
Plus, they have integrations with EVERYTHING. GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Google Drive, Heroku and countless other MarTech tools. The list doesn't end. Slack is where work gets done, and team communication stays fluid. 7. Marketo Latest data shows that 91% of companies using marketing automation find it to be an integral piece of their marketing strategy. The fact of the matter is, with so many channels and platforms available to marketers today, automation is necessary to thrive. And Marketo is a powerhouse of automation designed for marketers by marketers.
If you're in B2B and want to get an idea of how your prospects are interacting with all your marketing channels, Marketo is the wingman you've always wanted. Built on the same core platform as Salesforce, Marketo is a necessity for any team running multiple channels for customer acquisition. With an easy-to-use modular system featuring marketing automation, consumer engagement marketing, real-time personalization, and marketing management, you can customize everything for your specific business needs. Marketo is designed for scaling businesses. The platform allows you to clone entire programs such as landing pages and email marketing, so you don't have to create new ones as your grow. Using advanced reporting to pull detailed customer analytics and then compare across channels, Marketo can integrate with just about any other MarTech tool you use.
Marketo is built for the power-user. For the marketing team that attacks multiple channels and needs heavy equipment to get the job done. 8. AdRoll AdRoll arrived on the MarTech scene as a retargeting platform but has since transitioned into a full-funnel DSP (demand-side platform).
What does this mean? AdRoll allows you to attract new customers to your site, convert site visitors at scale, and continue to maintain a relationship with your existing customers.
Programmatic marketing has gotten some flack recently, but the numbers don't lie: There is a reason AdRoll has over 30,000 customers (well, there's at least 30,000 reasons). And what AdRoll is working on in the future is even more interesting. AdRoll plans to focus more on incrementality utilizing big data and machine learning to get a complete sense of which ads are actually causing customers to make a purchase. They are building out an account-based marketing solution and are poised to become a market leader in the space. Take their access to over 300 ad networks and exchanges, add an advanced bidding tool, and layer in very specific customer data from Bombora. That's a recipe for potential success and more money in your company war chest. Their account management is second to none. For mid-market companies, you will not get the same level of customer service from Google or Facebook. Want a platform to help grow and nurture customers? Look no further. 9. Sprinklr CXM, or customer experience management, is the audience engagement need for your MarTech stack in 2018. Have you heard the maxim, “People don't care what you know until they know that you care”? With CXM, that core idea rings true. Engaging with your audience is an absolute must-have for creating a dialogue about your brand. Sprinklr makes this easier than ever to put into practice.
Their CXM platform gives you complete control over the customer experience. Pull over 25 social channels into a unified platform. Reach and listen to all your customers in one place. Add context to data pulled from other platforms, like your Salesforce CRM.
With diverse integrations, you'll be able to connect Sprinklr to any other tool in your stack. 10. MailChimp When it comes to email marketing, there are countless platforms available. But starting out with your first platform can make or break your success. Some cost a fortune, and others are meant for top-level companies. Thankfully, MailChimp exists, allowing any company of any size to start an email marketing campaign in just minutes.
With powerful analytics dashboards, you get clear data on your campaigns without vanity metrics:
Using a drag-and-drop email building system, you can get campaigns established fast with the look and appeal of a high-tech, high-cost platform:
The fact is, email still reigns supreme in 2018. Email is still one of the most influential information sources for B2B audiences. On the B2C side of things, welcome emails generate 320% more revenue than general promotional messages. If you aren't capitalizing on the opportunities to maximize revenue from your email marketing... well, then what are you doing? MailChimp makes it easier than ever to build automated campaigns for drip funnels and promotional marketing, with templates that make the process a breeze for you and your team. You can quickly split your audiences into lists for optimal campaign performance. As with most MarTech tools, it integrates with just about every app on the planet. My personal favorite tactic is using Gleam to build a competition, then leveraging automation in MailChimp to convert those participants into customers. All that's left to do is sit back and watch yourself win. 11. Wrike Keeping everyone on the same page is just as vital as getting your MarTech stack working overtime. Ensuring that every team is interconnected, working together and sharing information isn't easy. Especially when teams are hard at work. And that's where Wrike comes into play.
Wrike has an advantage as one of the leading productivity management platforms in the world. When your MarTech needs to stay on track, count on Wrike to keep all your campaign tasks organized. Wrike helps you to test workflows before launching them into campaigns and manage communications across members of your team. In addition to a robust free trial and extensive documentation to get you started, Wrike boasts a library of integrations - including some of the market-leading MarTech tools.
Wrike is perfect for businesses that get work done and need to share that work across various departments and teams. Integrate it into your marketing stack for streamlined communications and efficiency. 12. Zapier Say you need to connect your Kissmetrics campaigns to reports to Crazy Egg, and then email those reports to your supervisor at 4:00 PM on the dot? Diverse, detailed and seriously precise marketing automation like that is hard to come by. And that's why Zapier is dominating the competition.
Connecting anything to well, anything, is as easy as selecting a few dropdowns. Choose the apps you want to connect, create a hook, and voila - instant MarTech magic.
Zapier is the Muhammad Ali of automation. Using easy, customizable triggers and actions, you can connect any app in your stack to run highly specific tasks. Once you've set it up, you simply let it run in the background, automating most of your daily tasks that kill your time. 13. SERPs SEO has changed dramatically in the past ten years. In fact, Google makes updates to their algorithm nearly 600 times each year. That's more than once a day. Staying up-to-date with SEO is crucial, and there is perhaps no better way to know who is outranking you on specific keywords than SERPs.
SERPs is the one-stop shop for competitive SEO insights. Your SEO is never good enough in today's algorithm-shifting world. Until you hit #1 ranking for every targeted keyword, there is always opportunity to improve. SERPs helps you go above and beyond plain old research to deliver actionable insights about your competition.
When researching their Google ranking index or keyword research database, you can gather insights on which keywords competitors are targeting, campaign costs against those keywords, and SEO rankings for specific landing pages or blog content. Stop doing keyword research with sub-par platforms or directly on Google. Integrate SERPs to get the benefit of keyword research and competitor research in one. Bringing it all together Building a MarTech stack is a complex problem. You have over 5,000 options to choose from with a very specific budget and a list of requirements. Want to hear some good news? You've already done the hard work. Finding the right resources is half the battle. The other half of the battle is getting your knowledge to align with actions. You are the glue holding your MarTech stack together. Without your decisions, there is no marketing ROI for you and your team. You still need to bring everything together to ensure your team can make the most of this powerful MarTech tool stack. First, ask yourself these two key questions. What are my immediate goals? Your initial answers to this question led you here, so it may be time to really look into what you're doing and why you're doing it. In my first marketing role at a SaaS company, we spent about $10,000 on LinkedIn Ads that only converted 0.1% of users who clicked through. In some companies, this is a campaign that can put you out on the street. You know what our team did instead of stressing about the results? We doubled down with a clearer objective. Our initial goal was too broad. “Convert 1% of user click-throughs” only works if you're offering real value and understand why your content is valuable. We were trying to sell ourselves without telling a story, and our prospective customers could see right through it. So what did our new goal become? “Convert 1% of user click-throughs and increase total ad clicks by 5,000.” Then we were prioritizing context as well as optimization.
Bringing this back around to the finish line, your goals are the hidden driver for your MarTech stack. Understand your why and be clear about how each MarTech tool guides you toward success. Where are you going to achieve a greater ROI? The trick is actually more simple than it may seem. You'll generate ROI when you test assumptions and land in the right place at the right time. With measurable and actionable results, you tell a more informed story about your customers. A better story leads to better experiments. Before you know it, your marketing machine does all the heavy lifting for you. For example, your life is easier when you put the majority of the load on your MarTech stack. With Kissmetrics, for instance, it's easy to analyze, segment, and connect your marketing automation in a single platform.
Your MarTech tool stack is the key to achieving successful ROI in your marketing efforts. Without it, you're Captain Ahab in the ocean minus a paddle and spear. Want more? In this video, I share 5 tools I didn't mention in this list:
Conclusion Marketing stacks are key to streamlining your marketing campaigns in the modern world. With so many options to choose from, it can often be overwhelming. For your average mid-market company, a combination of Kissmetrics (below) + Crazy Egg + HubSpot + Google + Facebook may be all you need. Even startups can benefit from this stack. Enterprises can combine these tools and more to achieve even more growth. With the addition of Sprinklr and other CXM tools, every channel becomes a potential revenue stream. You've shown an appetite for winning in the marketing game by getting this far. Go forth, build your MarTech tool stack, and show the world what you can do. What completes your MarTech tool stack? About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.
Ok, bear with me, because there's quite a bit of a story here. Remember how two years ago I told you that I was rolling out a new version of this site? Well... here's what happened. At the time, I'd hired a designer and was all set to do a full revamp of this blog. [...]
Mamanista is excited to have nutritional expert, Jonny Bowden, aka “The Nutrition Myth Buster,” expert guest posting today and sharing a Smart Mom's Guide to Palm Oil. After being introduced to Jonny, we found information on palm oil intriguing. So, we wanted to share with our readers too! **Disclaimer – this is not a sponsored post and Mamanista was in no way compensated for this post. Read labels, and you'll spot palm oil in everything from your kids' favorite cookies to your premium nutrition bar. Palm oil is estimated to be in half of our packaged foods. Despite being the world's most widely consumed vegetable oil, many American moms know very little about palm oil. Where does it come from? Is it healthy? Is it good for the planet? Why are food producers using it anyway? Here's what smart moms need to know.
Adios trans fat, hello palm oil Many manufacturers have switched to natural tropical fats such as coconut and Malaysian palm oil to replace the trans fat-laden partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in their products. PHOs have been shown to increase heart disease, diabetes and stroke risk so the FDA has restricted their use. Malaysian palm oil is an industry favorite because of its quality and wholesomeness. This premium healthy fat offers a creamy texture and long shelf-life, plus it's responsibly produced. Enjoy palm oil's non-GMO goodness Many of us are trying to eat foods closer to how they are found in nature. But that can be a challenge when it comes to edible oils because almost all of the canola, soybean and corn grown in the United States (more than 90 percent!) come from genetically modified seeds. Thankfully, all palm oil is non-GMO. Palm oil also offers a unique, heart-healthy 50-50 blend of saturated and unsaturated fat. Plus, it's loaded with vitamin E tocotrienols. This antioxidant is up to 60 times more potent than the more common vitamin E form. One more reason to love palm trees In tropical climates around the globe, a special species of palm tree produces bunches of oil-rich fruit. Each bunch weighs between 20 and 50 pounds and may contain up to 3000 individual fruitlets. In Malaysia, plantation workers handpick these massive fruit bunches, often on family farms which have been tended for generations. Palm oil is released when these fruitlets are squeezed. The process is similar to olive oil production. Oil palm plantations are incredibly high yielding. In Malaysia, one acre of oil palm produces 11 times more oil than an acre of soybean, 10 times more than sunflower and 7 times more than canola. Best of all, oil palm trees don't need to be cleared and replanted every year as with corn, canola and soybean crops. This results in significantly less environmental impact, as well as stable homes for native wildlife.
Cheers for Malaysia Malaysia is a leader in palm oil production. This progressive tropical county puts the needs of the planet and its people first when producing palm oil. Unfortunately, not all palm oil producers feel the same way about protecting resources. Malaysia was the first country to produce certified sustainable palm oil. By 2020, all palm oil produced in the progressive Southeast Asian country will align with its stringent sustainability policies. Leading companies such as Kellogg's, Nestle and General Mills depend on palm oil to produce great-tasting and nutritious products. They take great care to use responsibly produced and certified sustainable palm oil, such as MSPO-certified palm oil from Malaysia. Malaysian palm oil the label indicates quality. About Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, (aka “The Nutrition Myth Buster”). Jonny is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition and health. He's a board-certified nutritionist with a master's degree in psychology and the best-selling author of 15 books on health, healing, food and longevity, including his latest book (co-written with Dr. Steven Masley), “Smart Fat: Eat More Fat, Lose More Weight, Get Healthy Now!”
Are you looking for new ways to drive conversions-signups, product demos, website visits, etc.-on social media? Of course you are. That's why we sat down with Hootsuite's social marketing lead, Amanda Wood. She gave us the dirt on the best ways to drive conversions based on her experience with Hootsuite's social media strategy. 1. Write clearly and succinctly With all the noise on social networks these days, you need to get your point across quickly. “Clear and crisp copy is always the goal,” says Wood. You only have a few seconds to get the reader's attention and convince them to take an action. Here's how to ensure your writing is as clear as possible: [list] [*]Simplify. Take out unnecessary words and replace longer ones with shorter alternatives (write “use” instead of “utilize,” for example). We like to use Hemingway App to make sure our copy isn't overly complicated. [*]Edit (at least twice). Whether you're an expert writer or a beginner, everyone makes mistakes. By carefully reviewing your work, you might notice inconsistencies. If you don't have time, ask a colleague to proofread for you. Or check out these 12 Quick Editing Tips for Social Media Pros. [*]Remove jargon. Jargon makes your copy harder to read. Swap out industry-specific terms for plain language. For example, instead of “Use our cloud computing software to uncover insights about your target consumer,” try “Use our platform to better understand your customers.” [*]Write for your audience. When you understand who you're speaking to and why, it's much easier to tailor your copy to your audience's needs. [*]Include an effective CTA. Your call to action should set an expectation for what's coming next and clearly state how the reader will benefit, as most of us are driven to do things based on incentives. In Wood's words, “Your audience should always know what to expect when they click through. Nothing should be a surprise to them...otherwise that's clickbait!” [/list] 2. Put money behind your top-performing organic content Social media marketers are often running multiple ad campaigns at once. It can be hard to keep track of them all. To save time, Wood uses AdEspresso's Automatic Page Post Promotion feature to automatically boost content that's doing well organically. You can choose the type of posts you want to boost, how long they'll be promoted for, and when to boost them with ad money. For example, you could decide that posts that contain a link to your website are automatically boosted once they receive 10 or more shares.
Our social team uses shares as a top metric as they are among the most “difficult” engagement action. A like or view is a more passive action than a share. Judging content based on shares usually means the most quality content will get picked for automatic promotion. “It's a system to have in place to get the ball rolling-without you having to attend to your ad constantly,” explains Wood. Automatic post promotion is not only a time-saver, it also ensures that successful content is getting more visibility-ultimately driving more conversions. 3. Try Instagram Story ads After trying Instagram Story ads, our social team was pleasantly surprised with the amount of conversions-like content downloads and webinar registrations-they received. 4. Unleash the power of social video Instead of using a block of text to explain what your product or service can do, put it in a video. It's a smart way to get a message across in 15 to 30 seconds and studies show that video resonates well with audiences. “When brainstorming content for our social videos, we look at the Hootsuite blog posts that are already popular,” Wood explains. If a piece of content is already driving conversions in one format, generally it performs well as a video. Learn more about creating the perfect social video for your brand. 5. Use eye-catching visuals If people don't even notice your content, you can't expect it to drive conversions. And when it comes to creating content that stands out, the right image, video, or GIF can make all the difference. Here's how you can make sure your visuals stand out: [list] [*]Be consistent with your choice of color. Assign certain colors to topics or content. According to Wood, it helps your audience know what to expect. For example, if you color-code your video tutorials with a green background, users will know at a glance what the video is about. This is helpful when users are looking forward to your next piece of content-they can spot it quickly on their feed. You should also avoid using colors that match the platform's color scheme. “They'll likely blend in,” Wood explains. [*]Avoid poor stock photos. If you have a boring stock photo that's already being used by a handful of brands, there's a chance your content will go unnoticed. Make sure you know the best practices for using stock photos. [*]Use a moving video or a GIF. Try something engaging to grab your reader's attention. Wood likes to use a video or a GIF because they stand out in feeds. If you're stuck, read our guide on choosing the right GIF for your social media content. [/list] 6. Make a mini infographic An infographic is an easy-to-digest visualization of data or information. Our social team has seen great success using them to drive conversions:
These graphics do a great job of teasing content, compelling the reader to click through for more. Wood explains that the conversion can come immediately or at a later time: “If we can win our readers over by helping them do this one thing, that's great. Hopefully they'll keep that in mind and down the road they'll convert as a customer or follower.” Hootsuite's design team uses Adobe Illustrator to create our infographics. There are also free tools like Canva Infographic Maker and Visme that you can use as well. While no single formula can promise conversions for any business, following some or all of the tips above will set you on the path to success. Want to watch your social media content convert in real-time? Hootsuite Analytics can give you easy-to-understand results about your growth and performance on social. Get Started
17 comments, 223 likes on Facebook, and 88 retweets. You're writing stuff, and people are reading it. They're clicking your links and arriving at your blog. Your efforts are finally paying off with a steady stream of traffic. We're not going to focus on the importance of a business blog. You know it's crucial to business success in the 21st century: [list] [*]85.1% of American households have some sort of computer, to say nothing of the prevalence of smartphones. [*]Marketers that prioritize blogging as part of their efforts are 13x more likely to see a positive return-on-investment. [*]The number one challenge for marketing departments is generating traffic and leads. A frequently updated blog can kill two birds with one stone. [*]Nearly 80% of people identify as blog readers. [*]Companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those who don't, 434% more indexed pages, and 97% more indexed links...all of which lead to better SEO and ranking. [*]70% of B2C marketers use blogging in their marketing efforts, second only to social media (89%) and email (86%). The numbers are even higher in the B2B sphere, where 79% use blogging, 92% use social media, and 93% use email. [*]More is more: those that publish 16+ posts per month generate nearly 3.5x more traffic and 4.5x more leads than those that only publish between 0-4. [/list]
Blogs are a popular, effective, and affordable way to bring people to your digital domain. That's the good news. The “bad” news? Traffic generation is only half the battle. Pageviews, likes, tweets, and comments are nice, but none of them are the ultimate goal. You need to convert that traffic into leads. According to Forrester Research, around 97-98% of your visitors leave without taking an action or identifying themselves. They may absolutely love your posts. They may come back again and again. They may consider you an authority and expert in your industry. But the vast majority pop in, read, and leave. You have to do something to take it to the next level. Can you afford to let 98% of your potential leads disappear without a trace? Traffic generation combined with lead generation make your blog a worthwhile investment. Everything else – likes, retweets, comments – are nothing but vanity metrics. People like your posts and that gives you a nice little ego boost, but that and $3.50 might get you a coffee at Starbucks. You need to actively generate both traffic and leads. Traffic without leads is meaningless. Leads without traffic will eventually dry up. Here's the best news: a frequently updated blog with high quality, valuable content is a lead generation machine...when done properly. Small to mid-sized (SMB) businesses that blog experience 126% more lead growth than those that don't bother.
So increase your traffic. There are plenty of great guides and tutorials on how to do that. Just don't forget about the lead generation part of the equation. Remember: Traffic generation + lead generation = digital marketing bliss That said, you don't want to explicitly bombard your readers with aggressive tactics. No one likes a pushy salesperson. Nor do you want to be so subtle that no one even notices you're trying to convert them from visitor to lead. Find the middle ground with these tactics to nudge your traffic into lead territory because that's where they want to go. If you want them to do something, you've simply got to ask. Call-to-Action For some of you, this might be a wake-up call. Your blog posts need a call-to-action. Every one of them. If you're ending your posts with nothing more than an invitation to leave a comment, you're doing it wrong. You need to get your visitors to do something: sign up, download, click, read something else, subscribe, install, contact you, and so on. Are you asking? Are you giving them those opportunities to convert, or just hoping they'll decide to do so on their own? A high quality blog post without a compelling CTA is a lead lost. They're already on your site. They're already interested and engaged with you and your brand. So give them more. A strong CTA is action oriented, benefit-to-them driven, visual, persuasive, and ideally creates a sense of urgency. But it also needs to be easy to find. There are several places you could locate your CTA on your site: [list=1] [*]At the top of the page [*]At the end of the post [*]Within the post itself [*]In the sidebar [*]As a floating or scrolling popup [*]As a sliding popup [*]As a full-screen overlay [/list] You don't want to crowd the page and choose them all. You need to select one or two that maximize exposure on your blog and resonate with your readers. And you do that by testing. In real estate, the axiom is location, location, location. In digital marketing it's test, test, test. “Almost any question can be answered, cheaply, quickly and finally, by a test campaign. And that's the way to answer them – not by arguments around a table. Go to the court of last resort – the buyers of your product.” ~Claude Hopkins Pick a few, set up an A/B test, and see what actually works best. Test various locations, types, colors, designs, copy, offer, and more. Zero in on the single most (or top two, or top three) powerful to turn your traffic into your leads. Use VWO, Optimizely, AB Tasty, or a similar service to make it fast and easy. While only you can ultimately decide what works best for your blog, these are a few popular and efficient tactics to test. Hello Bar When someone arrives on your blog, they're at the top of the page, and there's no guarantee they're going to scroll down any further. Putting your CTA at the very top, then, makes a lot of sense. The Hello Bar is a very simple but highly effective tool that places your call-to-action in a thin, attention-grabbing band across the very top of your page. Instantly recognizable, static, and stays there even if they do decide to scroll down.
Using just a hello bar, DIYThemes generated just under 1200 new subscribers in only 30 days. While the Hello Bar is perhaps the industry standard, there are alternatives available that do the same thing: [list] [*]SalesPanda [*]Sumo SmartBar [*]WP Notification Bar [*]Sleeknote [*]OptinMonster [/list] You can also find several free WordPress plugins, but remember that you get what you paid for. A hello bar can be used to encourage social engagement or email subscriptions, promote new products or services, and more. In-text CTAs According to recent analysis by Chartbeat, most people don't read your entire blog post. In fact, a full 10% never scroll at all, while the majority stop after scrolling through about 60% of it.
You can still get your call-to-action in front of those individuals with an in-text CTA. Some of you may be thinking that the hello bar solves this problem. It's at the top and seen by everyone. That's true in theory. But let me introduce you to something called banner blindness. Because we're so used to them, because we're inundated with them everywhere while online, many of us either choose to ignore or subconsciously block out static banners and ads. We just don't “see” them. This is banner blindness at work, and your colorful hello bar may fall victim to it. But an in-text call-to-action that's either a direct or indirect part of your blog post is different. Include 1-2 in the first 60% of it, and you're going to have a lot of eyes on it as they read. Hubspot generates between 47-93% of their leads via what they've labeled anchor text CTAs (compared to only 6% for end-of-post banners).
It's a bigger font and different color to stand out, but still relevant to what they're currently reading about in the blog post. Value added. Visitor to lead. That same analysis revealed that anchor text CTAs combined with internal link CTAs represent a whopping 83-93% of their leads.
As you can see, internal link calls-to-action are part of the blog post itself. Click one, and it takes you to a landing page to subscribe or download something relevant to the topic at hand. Location, Location, Location Besides the top of the page and in the post itself, you can place a CTA virtually anywhere on your page. Test each one to see what works best for you. Static Sidebar
A static banner in the sidebar is widely used in the blogosphere because it typically works quite well. Almost every blog you visit will likely have at least one inviting you to either subscribe to the email newsletter or contact the author. It's unobtrusive. It's not “in the face” of your readers. It's not annoying. It's just there, quietly doing its job of helping to convert traffic to leads. Here's the sidebar CTA I use on my blog:
That said, it shouldn't be your only tactic. The sidebar CTA is easy to ignore, subject to banner blindness, and gone as soon as they scroll down. Use it in partnership with something else. AdEspresso found a 0.4% conversion rate (CVR) for their static sidebar CTAs. Scrolling Sidebar A scrolling CTA looks very similar, but it follows the reader down the post. Because of this mobility, it tends to stand out a bit more and gives the reader more time to decide to click. AdEspresso scrolling ads had a CVR nearly double – 0.76% – the static rate.
Slide-in or Popup A slide-in popup or overlay is the next logical step in the evolution of the call-to-action. It relies on a trigger – say, X% of the page scrolled, or X number of seconds on page – before it slides in from the side, top, or bottom. In doing so, it's only revealed to those readers that have already demonstrated real interest in the post. If they've scrolled down 75% of the way – past the 60% where most visitors stop – or spent at least 90 seconds reading, then you've got their attention. Strike while the iron is hot. OptinMonster, Sumo, and NinjaPopups are three respected options to give these a try. Popups delivered a 2.5% CVR for AdEspresso, while others have experienced an impressive 10x higher email subscriptions after introducing the strategy to their site. You can customize and experiment with everything from where, when, and why to find the perfect combination. Exit Intent Overlay An exit overlay works in much the same way, but is only triggered when someone demonstrates their intent to leave by moving the cursor towards the tab, address bar, or back button on their browser. Remember when I said that 97-98% of your traffic leaves without completing an action? An exit popup or overlay can pull back at least some of those lost leads. Demonstrate intent to leave on the DODOcase website, and this pops up:
This is a great example of a lightbox overlay. The box takes center stage, overlaying and darkening the rest of the website. It stands out, and gives each visitor a clear choice between this or that. An exit popup can offer a special discount or coupon, collect feedback, introduce a useful lead magnet, suggest another product or blog post, recommend your newsletter, or whatever else you want to dangle in front of them to tempt them to stay and convert. Here's what I use on my Neil Patel blog: [center]I make a great offer in exchange for very little information. I use the recording in the background to show proof that I rank #1 on Google for the query online marketing. You can buy exit intent software, but it's usually pretty expensive for most small companies. You may want to have a developer create one for your site. It may take some of their time away from other projects, but it will save you money in the long run. And the leads and customers you'll get from a well-designed overlay will bring you a positive ROI. Welcome Mat When a visitor first arrives at your site, take advantage of the opportunity to convert immediately with a welcome mat. This whole page overlay displays a compelling call-to-action before revealing the post or page they've clicked on. Navigate to ClickMinded, and you don't initially see their homepage, you see this:
Both Sumo and OptinMonster offer popular options. With them, you can encourage your site visitors to join your email list, check out your latest blog post, download some valuable resource, and more. Much like an exit overlay, they have to actively choose not to do whatever it is you're asking them to do. Some will. Many won't. AppSumo discovered that a welcome mat was 3x more effective for them than any other page or tactic for collecting email addresses. An optimized and compelling call-to-action strategically placed on your page is your best bet for turning traffic into leads, but it's not the only way. Retargeting Despite your best efforts, there will still be a sizeable chunk of traffic that leaves without completing your CTA. Maybe they were pressed for time, or your offer wasn't compelling enough, or they simply missed it. That's where retargeting comes in. It gives you another kick at the can. To make use of it, you need to use a service like ReTargeter, Perfect Audience, PixelMe, or AdRoll. Essentially, a tiny string of code called a pixel is placed on your website. This pixel drops a tracking cookie on the browser of every visitor to your blog. It then follows them around the internet. It's a lot less creepy than it sounds. Ever notice an ad for a product you were looking at on Site A in the sidebar of Site B, or on your Facebook feed? That's retargeting doing its thing.
The pixel follows them, and displays relevant ads to them to draw them back to your blog or landing page. You get a second chance to convert them. Wordstream, for example, experienced a 300% increase in engagement and 51% more leads after 18 months of retargeting. If you're willing to put some time, money, and effort into retargeting, you will absolutely see an increase in conversions. There's a learning curve to it, but most services provide tutorials and how-tos to get you going in no time. The more chances you give yourself to turn your visitors into leads, the better. Exclusive or Upgraded Content Another useful tactic to try is offering exclusive or upgraded content in exchange for contact details. Either in or at the end of your post, offer some relevant but additional piece of content. It might be a template, or checklist, or blueprint that allows your readers to put what they just learned into action with as little friction as possible.
How about a registration box for an upcoming webinar on a relevant skill or strategy?
Or a free online course to help readers build complementary skills. A post about lead generation through blogging combined with a sidebar ad for a course on doubling or tripling traffic? That'll work.
The sky's the limit on what you can offer. Make it relevant, useful, and irresistible. Ask for nothing but an email address and maybe a name. Make it easy for them to say 'yes'. Learn To Be More Persuasive Ultimately, you're trying to convince someone to trust you. Most of us are a bit reluctant and cynical when it comes to handing over our details online. You've got to persuade and convince them. To do that, there are few tools as powerful as the six principles of influence as described in Dr. Robert Cialdini's seminal book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. If you're not familiar with it, I highly recommend it. Cialdini outlines six basic principles – sometimes called weapons – and you can use them all in your blog posts: [list=1] [*]Reciprocity: we feel obligated to “return the favor” when someone does something for us. If you're consistently providing your readers with fantastic content and useful tips, they much more likely to give you their email address when you ask for it. [*]Commitment and Consistency: if you can get your readers to commit to something small and innocuous – like clicking on a related post – we're wired to remain consistent in our action. If they've committed or agreed to something small like that, they're very likely to agree to a larger request like their name and contact details later on. [*]Social Proof: this hinges on the idea of safety in numbers. If you can demonstrate that the majority already trusts you or uses your product with subscription numbers, social media following, clients or companies you've worked with, “as seen on” or “featured in” section, testimonials, and reviews, you've got a much easier time convincing new visitors to sign up or purchase. [*]Liking: simple. We are more willing to trust or purchase from someone we find agreeable and likable. Be friendly, positive, approachable, helpful, entertaining, relatable, and engaging in all your posts. [*]Authority: we inherently trust an authority figure like a teacher, police officer, or doctor. So make yourself an authority in your industry or niche with frequent guest posts on authority sites, speaking at conferences and other events, engaging on social media, answering questions on sites like Quora, displaying your formal credentials and relevant training or experience, and more. [*]Scarcity: we want what we can't have or believe is exclusive. Place a limited period of time or limited number on something, and watch conversions skyrocket. Amazon displays 'low stock” on items for a reason. But – and this is a big but – don't overuse this strategy or it quickly loses its power and people feel lied to and manipulated. [/list] While you don't want to utilize all six in every post you write, strategically using one or two will make you a more persuasive and trustworthy individual. Quick Tips Most of the strategies we've covered so far are long games. But that doesn't mean you can't use a few quick tips to land more leads. [list] [*]Promote your products in your posts. You don't want to overdo it, and avoid aggressive sales tactics, but mentioning a relevant product or resource in the post itself can generate interest and leads. If you're writing about Facebook Ads, and that's one of the services you offer, there's no harm in mentioning that...once. [*]Include plenty of internal links to other blog posts, a “related posts” or “you may also like” section, and perhaps 'previous' and 'next' buttons at the end. Anything you can do to a) further demonstrate your expertise, and b) keep readers on your site will only increase your chance of converting traffic to leads. [*]Use plenty of headers, subheaders, and bulleted lists to break up your posts, make them scannable, and keep your readers from bouncing. [*]A simple but effective offer at the end is a downloadable summary of the post they just read. If the article is 3500 words, but you can provide them with a convenient, 350 word PDF summary in exchange for their contact details, you'd be surprised how many people will jump at the chance. [/list] And last but not least, consistently provide the best, most valuable, highest quality material you can. There are millions of blogs out there, but the vast majority aren't worth the digital space they consume. Be different. Be better. People will return again and again if you're delivering the goods. They'll recommend you to friends. They'll sign up, subscribe, download, and purchase. Try the ideas here, and let me know how it works out for you. I also describe how bloggers can get readers to buy their products and services. Give it a watch and let me know what you think!
Conclusion When it's done right, content marketing can be one of the most effective marketing channels you'll have. It can reliably bring a steady stream of traffic to your blog and marketing site. But just like your marketing site converts visitors into customers, your blog needs to convert readers into subscribers. You need to get some information from them while you give out tons of free, actionable content. Often times this means you'll have to give more free content, but this all part of the transaction. You give a little to get a little. Anything you'd add to our list? What tactics have you tried to convert your traffic to leads? About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.