Inbound Marketing 101: Crafting Quality Content that Attracts Visitors

For many companies, creating content for their websites and blogs can appear to be the most difficult and time-consuming part of developing an inbound marketing campaign. But creating quality content is really fairly simple: keep your audience in mind.

Target your audience.

Who is your key audience? What topics are they interested in? How much time do they have to read your content? Are they missing key information they need to make decisions? Tailor your content for your audience, and you’ll begin to see an uptick in visitors to your site. Not only that, you’ll know that these are visitors who are precisely the prospective customers you’re honing in on.

Engage, engage, engage.

Make your content pop by throwing in a bit of humor in every paragraph. Not exactly a comedian? Tell anecdotes that will draw the reader in. Make every sentence relatable, because there’s another human being reading your work.

Zoom in on the personalities and lived experiences of your audience.

What are the trends that your audience is attracted to? What do they read besides your site? What did they do last Saturday afternoon? Knowing a few key facts about your audience will help you to speak about their experiences.

Get to the point.

Do not spend three paragraphs introducing your key point. State it up front. Many web visitors read the first few sentences of a blog post, and then skim the rest. Make your intro short and noteworthy, and take care to ensure that the body of your content is easy to read.

Establish trust.

Blog often. Post on social media several times each week. Become a presence your readers rely on and begin to trust for entertaining content and useful information, and they’ll begin to head to your site without prompting.

Speak with your web design firm about your upcoming inbound marketing campaign, and find out what their content creation strategy is. Collaborate with them by talking about who your audience is, and you’ll be well on your way to coming up with engaging, dynamic content together.

Inbound Marketing 101: Landing pages that convert visitors into leads

Landing page brochure

If you’re contemplating an inbound marketing campaign for your business, you’re thinking about conversion. Social media followers, website visitors, and newsletter recipients all have something in common: they represent opportunities for you to convert interested and engaged parties into leads for your business. Regardless of which channel brings a visitor to your site, you must greet that visitor with an effective landing page. Something that is designed to convert him or her into a lead.

Your call–to-action must be front and center.

A call-to-action is content on your landing page which directs your users to take a concrete action. Such as downloading a free guide or brochure, signing up for a free consultation or trial. Or simply filling out a form with their contact information in order to receive a newsletter or other materials. Make sure this call-to-action is brief, straight to the point, and action-oriented. Design your page so that the call-to-action is easy to read and draws in the eye. If your visitors engage with one element on your page, you want it to be this call-to-action.

Make an offer that’s hard to resist.

What can you offer your potential customers that will provide them with real value? If your users are coming to your site to research your industry, offer them a white paper detailing information they will need to make a decision about a future purchase. If they are interested in your services, but aren’t sure they are ready to commit, offer a free trial. If they are nearly ready to make a purchase, offer a consultation that will answer any lingering questions. An offer that your customer is ready to take, will convert users to leads, and maybe even into customers.

Keep the page simple.

You want to draw attention to one thing and one thing only, and that is your actionable content. Too many pop-ups, side bars, excess information, or jarring graphics will block the path you want your users to take. Talk with your designer about keeping this page clean of distractions. This will make it easy for your potential customers to find exactly what you want them to find.

Your inbound marketing plan’s success depends on the landing page’s ability to communicate your offer’s value and engage your users in order to get them to take action. Keep these three tenets in mind when you speak with your designer about making this page a central part of your strategy.

Inbound Marketing 101: Creating Calls-to-Action that Inspire

While you may likely have a blog on your website, and you may use social media to reach out to customers, many businesses are unfamiliar with the nuts and bolts of inbound marketing. One of the key components of an inbound marketing campaign is the call-to-action.

What is a call-to-action?

A call-to-action links your website’s visitors from content on your website to a landing page which allows users to take an action, such as filling out a form with contact info, or downloading a valuable offer, such as a brochure, a free trial or consultation, or an informational guide. The call-to-action is a jumping-off point. It’s an opportunity for you to invite users to engage with your company on another level, by giving or receiving information.

Why should you incorporate a call-to-action on your site?

First, a call-to-action can be useful in generating leads. Placing a call-to-action on your blog can allow you to reach a large number of users who are interested in reading a post or two, but have not yet converted into interested, prospective customers. Second, calls-to-action can encourage active leads to become actual customers. By offering them a trial or a consultation, or by placing a call-to-action on a product page. Finally by encouraging leads to fill out information that will allow a salesperson to contact them.

What are the components of a great call-to-action?

Easy-to-read. Visually stunning. Short and sweet. Located in a conspicuous place on your page. Clear and action-oriented. A call-to-action should be impossible for your users to miss. It must inspire them to act immediately in order to engage more deeply with your company’s products and services.

If you’ve been considering an inbound marketing campaign, speak with your web design firm about creating blog posts and landing pages that incorporate a call-to-action that links to something of value for your customers. Whether it’s a consultation with your sales team, a guide to your products and services, or a free trial. Calls-to-action are a simple way to attract leads and nurture them until your web visitors become active customers.

Inbound Marketing 101: Establishing your buyer personas

As you begin to construct an inbound marketing strategy. Keep your audience in mind and generate a number of buyer personas. This will allow you to envision your target customers as you produce valuable content for them.

Buyer personas are fictional representations of the real-life customers you are targeting.

If you work in staffing or recruiting, you may want to reach out to job-seekers. Companies who are hiring. Visualizing these ideal members of your target audience will help you envision their needs, values, and even their preferred way of viewing and using content. It will ultimately aid you in building content, messaging, and even products and services, that appeal to those personas.

How can you build a variety of buyer personas to envision as you write blog posts, post social media updates, and create content offers?

First, envision a few broad categories of users.

In the case of a staffing firm, these broad categories may be job-seekers and companies who are looking to hire.

Now, break these groups down further.

Under the category of job-seekers.

You might envision recent college graduates, people making a career change, or employed professionals with expertise that makes them in-demand.

Under the category of hiring companies.

You might have growing start-ups, large companies who may be looking for a different staffing firm, and companies which use many temporary and contract employees.

Now that you have six well-defined buyer personas, think about what defines them.

  • Where do they live?
  • What are their interests?
  • What is their education level?
  • Are their certain websites or social media platforms they use more frequently than others?
  • What would their reason be for clicking on your blog post?
  • Why would they be interested in the products and services you have to offer?

Once you’ve answered these questions, build a short bio for each buyer persona. Now you’re ready to start crafting content that will specifically target users by appealing to them as human beings.

When writing a blog post, envision buyers who might be interested in that post, write it with them in mind. You’ll find that your content becomes more personalized and tailored, and that communications with your potential customers become more effective.

Inbound Marketing 101: What is a Content Offer and How Can It Move Potential Customers Through the Sales Funnel?

A content offer is the backbone of your inbound marketing plan. Whether it’s a nuanced infographic, loaded with statistics, a white paper introducing new and informative content, or a brochure detailing what separates your products from the rest, the content offer will present added value to your potential customers, regardless of where they are placed in the sales funnel.

What is the sales funnel? It’s the trajectory your potential customers take as they consider a purchasing decision. Their place in the funnel determines how you will target them with your content offer.

TOFU (Top of the Funnel):

These customers are in problem-solving mode, but they haven’t necessarily decided that a purchase is the solution to their problem. They are simply seeking information, and may be most receptive to your content offer if first introduced with a short and informative blog post. The post should deliver some information, but promises more crucial information as a part of the longer content offer.

MOFU (Middle of the Funnel):

Customers in the middle of the funnel have determined that their solution may be a purchase of services or products similar to yours, and need a substantial offer of information in order to educate them about their potential purchase. This is where your content offer comes in. Targeting these customers with calls to action that will lead them to download your content is a sure way to lead them to the next level of the funnel.

BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel):

These customers are ready to make a purchase. They may be considering your products and services and weighing them against your competitors. Simply inviting them to make a purchase isn’t sufficient. Combining an invitation with a statement reiterating the value highlighted in your content offer is a great way to get these customers to revisit what they’ve learned about your company and take the next steps.

Learn more about how writing a valuable content offer, and the accompanying blog posts, calls to action, and social media marketing, will take your potential customers and move them through the funnel with ease. Your inbound marketing agency can guide you through this crucial piece of marketing strategy.

Why Create a Personalized Experience on Your Website?

The experience most web visitors have in 2017 is vastly different from the one they had even two years ago. People browsing the web are used to a personalized experience, tailored to their interests, search history, or demographics. Visitors to your website are used to seeing content that speaks to their specific needs or addresses their concerns. A personalized experience for each visitor is an important way to keep up with peoples’ subconscious expectations of what the internet has to offer, and it can reap real results.

How You’ll Benefit From Personalizing Your Visitors’ Experience:

Conversation rates will increase.

By personalizing users experience on your site, you’ll be able to target the right audience for your products and services. This will attract prospective customers who are truly in the market for what you have to offer. Data bears this up, as 74% of marketers say that their customer engagement has seen a boost as a result of personalization.

Revenue will receive a boost.

When you target the visitors who have a real interest in your products and services. You’ll turn those visitors into actual leads, you’ll see an increase in sales. Again, evidence backs up this assertation. Marketers have seen an increase averaging at a 20% increase in sales after using targeted personalization.

User retention increases.

A targeted, personalized experience will yield more return visits to your website, and will increase the chances that your customer base becomes more loyal and may even share your content or recommend your business to others.

Speak with your web design firm about personalizing your website. To target the right customers, turn visitors into leads, leads into sales, sales into repeat business and a reputation boost. An experienced web designer can discuss dynamic content, email follow-up, and tracking users’ journeys across your site.

What is Marketing Automation?

Inbound marketing is more prevalent than ever.

Customers are over traditional marketing efforts such as television advertisements, spam-like email blasts, and direct mail. Hounding people with useless information is almost a sure-fire way to send potential leads out the door.

Inbound marketing has proven to be a helpful and adaptable solution.

What gets tricky is trying to micromanage and collaborate all of these channels and platforms as one campaign.

This is where marketing automation can be a real time and money saver. Marketing automation, in a nutshell, is a ‘one-stop’ location for all of your inbound marketing materials. These services allows companies to combine newsletters, social media posts, blog posts, and more into one central program where marketers can prioritize and execute their efforts in a much more efficient manner.

As noted above, the buying process can be very delicate. With inbound marketing, marketers are encouraged to nurture their leads by providing worthwhile information that is tailored to individuals- not a mass audience.

There are countless ways this can be carried out. For example, say you place a call-to-action on your web page, such as downloading an informative whitepage. In order to download the free whitepage, website visitors must provide their contact information, such as an email address and first and last name. After they provide this information through an online form, marketers can reach out to these prospects and further determine if these people are real leads or not. After downloading, a ‘Thank You’ email can be sent out or perhaps, an invite to download a case study containing information that is related to the whitepage.

A person who simply opened the ‘Thank You’ email should not receive the same information as the person who opened the email and then took further action, such as downloading the case study. Not downloading the second link does not necessarily disqualify someone as a potential lead; it suggests they are at a different stage of their buying process. Both parties should be contacted- in a timely, appropriate manner.

With marketing automation, these prospects can be easily managed and condensed into smaller groups allowing your sales and marketing team to reach out at appropriate times for the buyer. Both groups appreciate the more personalization from your company.

With hundreds of marketing automation services, it can be difficult to pinpoint which best matches your company’s needs. Determine what your company is looking for, but also keep in mind what you may be open to. Not all services are exactly alike- some offer the basics while others are much more elaborate. Also, be certain that a knowledgeable support team is offered. These programs can be a little overwhelming so having the right personnel to guide you through this transition is key.

While marketing automation may seem challenging, these services are proven to be highly successful. Mango Bay Internet can help design and automate an inbound marketing campaign that will work for you. To receive more information, visit our site here or call (216) 335-9255.  

Also, click here for more tips on how to increase traffic, leads, and sales from your website.

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Social Media

The beauty of social media is that you are able to interact with your followers (read: potential customers) remotely. Having a strong online presence is important as many people prefer to utilize their digital sources to communicate. As with all strategies, there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to execute.

DO: Create ways to get people talking.

Online users prefer company pages where there is frequent activity coming from both the page holder and followers. For smaller companies or businesses who are just starting out, there are ways to grow your online base.

Ways to Build More Engagement:

Posting company/industry relevant articles and asking open-ended questions.

For example, say you work for a travel company and there was a new concept that claims to make travel easier. You could find an unbiased article and add a short question like “What are your thoughts on this new travel medium?”

Creating contests/giveaways.

Who doesn’t love free things? Posts getting people to “Like & Share to be entered to win XYZ” are great because they generate more buzz on your company’s page and by sharing onto their page, their friends are ultimately seeing it. Word-of-mouth travels far!

Show your company off in a new light.

Visually appealing/lighthearted posts tend to generate the most likes/shares. Share a captivating photo of one of your products or find a funny, industry related meme. You can even post a picture of employees/customers *WITH THEIR PERMISSION* using your product/service!

DO: Make it worth your followers time.

This may seem like common sense but it is one of the more frequent problems occurring within companies social media pages. You have to create value to followers because if they feel as though they are not getting anything out of your page…. Unfollow. Several of the same techniques mentioned above (creating engagement) can also be applied here. Also, posting about specials or deals happening through your company works well as many would not have known prior to seeing your post. Even creating special promotions or deals exclusively for your followers is a great technique as it benefits both parties. Your company is gaining likes/follows (more reach) and your followers score a good deal or win a prize or what have you.

DO: Post regularly.. But don’t go overboard.

Depending on the platform(s) your company is using determines how often you should post. Twitter and Facebook are great because multiple posts daily are appropriate. However, if your company is utilizing Instagram, it is best not to spam people’s feeds with frequent posts. 1-2 posts a day would be sufficient for an average week.

DON’T: Only post to promote.

Social media is a wonderful place for marketing purposes. However, your followers eventually tire out of the plain jane advertisements they see on their timeline. As said before, there are many ways to draw people into your page and many of them do not include promotional efforts. Post a funny meme. Share news going on within your company. Post a fun #throwbackthursday picture.

DON’T: Ignore negative reviews on your page.  

Not everyone is going to be your biggest fan. It may seem like a tragedy when someone leaves a one-star review on your page or even worse, a novel going into extensive detail their experience with the company. However, companies can easily turn these into opportunities to show off their PR and customer service skills. Apologize, listen to the problem, and offer solutions. You should never be rude or condescending to a past, current, or potential customer but that is ESPECIALLY applicable when the whole world has the ability to see. Maintain a calm demeanor and offer empathy. Followers will notice that you take the time to reply.

Other ‘Housekeeping’ Tips:

  • Use hashtags appropriately. On Facebook, hashtags are not necessary and many times take away from the post. Hashtags should be used sparingly on Facebook. On Twitter, users are only given 140 characters for each post, so hashtags are not heavily used there as well. Given that many people search by ‘topic’ on Instagram, hashtags are acceptable and should be used. Hashtags should be short and easy to dissect, and relatable to the post. 11 is considered the ‘golden number’ of hashtags on Instagram.
  • Do not buy followers, ask for followers/likes, or like your own page. These are very unprofessional tactics and can make the company come off as desperate.
  • “I”, “my”, “me”, “myself”, etc. should not be used! The page is dedicated to a company-not a specific person. Third person can be used but I would advise that using first person plural (“we” or “our”) is the safest route. Also, remain consistent in these posts- pick either first or third person and stick with it!

*Good Example: “Mango Bay launches a new website.”

*Good Example: “Everyone who likes our page will be entered to win ABC.”

*Bad Example: “Like my page to be entered to win!”

These basic guidelines will help get you started in creating productive social channels. To learn more about how to enhance your company’s social media pages, speak with a Mango Bay consultant at 1-888-35MANGO.

5 Basic Steps for Creating a Successful Website

When used properly, your company website can be a great tool in terms of marketing efforts. When used improperly, your website can leave a negative impact upon potential customers and even drive people away. Below I will discuss some basic tips that will get you started in creating a successful website.

1. Adding the right amount of text.

Depending on your company, your website will differentiate in the amount of text needed. For example, if your business or product is uncommon, then more text may be required to explain what you are selling. On the other hand, if you are promoting a more well-known product or service such as hair styling, less text would be ideal. In many instances, including this example, more imagery (especially custom photos) could be extremely beneficial as potential customers can see real-life examples of your work.

2. Providing a comprehensible, concise message.

Within seconds of clicking on your page, your customer should be able to figure out what your company does and any action they should take. Depending on the industry, there is a 30-60% chance a visitor on your website will bounce to another page without returning. It is very unlikely for a visitor to stay on your page if they are unsure of your company’s purpose.

3. Avoid using jargon.

Jargon words do not leave a favorable image with your visitors. We’ve all seen many advertisements with headlines talking about their “Next Generation” or “Ground-Breaking” products. These claims seem phony and unrealistic.

4. Relocating new page to functioning links.

“404 Message” or “Page Not Found” messages appear when website designers decide to redo or omit pages from their site. If you decide to relocate a page on your website, make sure to set up a 301 redirect so customers and search engines can easily find the new page. When search engines cannot find a page, you will lose SEO status.

5. Keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO).

Your word and phrase choice is what generates the most traffic onto your page. Major commercial search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, utilize keywords from websites to properly direct people to their respective searches. Determining appropriate keywords for your site is a crucial step in search engine optimization. Google Keyword Planner and Bing WebMaster are excellent tools in conducting keyword research.

For more information on website design, speak with one of our consultants by calling 1-888-35MANGO. Also, you can download our free EBook for more tips on designing a killer website.

Why Updated Equipment Matters

As technology progresses, it is imperative to keep your computer/network equipment updated. This includes both physically updating your servers, computers, routers, switches, and cabling, as well as patching these devices. It is important to physically upgrade equipment because the electronic parts within these devices usually have a lifespan.

Depending on the device, how long it has been used, and the utilization each and every day for that device are just some of the factors that can determine the lifespan. A lot of the time, when a device starts to have a physical issue, it does not need to be replaced as a whole, but a part on the device may need replaced. I’ve seen it more often than you would think, where people assume that they just need to get a new computer to solve the issue. In reality, the computer may not be the issue, and it may be another factor on the network causing the issue.

For example, if you have a switch on your network that is older and it may only be 10/100Mbps, this may be the cause for a slower connection. By simply upgrading your network switch to a 10/100/1000Mbps, or a Gigabit switch, your network connection performance may improve. Most people run Ethernet cabling one time, and forget about it for years. Cabling has improved over the years, which means your cabling may be outdated, and may not support the new speeds of today. There are different types of Ethernet cable, each of which have a physical limitation or throughput it can handle.

The second part of making sure your equipment is updated, is updating the software on these devices. Whether it be a server, computer, router, or a firewall, all of which need to be regularly updated with the newest available software. Routers and firewalls for the most part, are straight forward, in the fact that they need to have upgraded software and firmware.

The more expensive routers and firewalls, usually have more complex updates than this, and require many factors to be considered. Servers and computers on the other hand, have a plethora of updates available. They need to have updates depending on their operating system, updates for the applications installed on the system, and also updates for the hardware of the physical machine. The more applications there are on your computers, the more updates that will need to be applied. In summary, it is key to regularly replace equipment, as well as check for software updates on all of your network equipment.