10 Steps to Strategically Increase Leads by Leveraging Quality Content Generation

Current marketing trends all emphasize the need to generate quality content for the sake of driving targeted traffic to your website as well as converting that traffic into promising leads. In order to carry out this marketing strategy effectively, you must develop a specific rollout plan to not only develop content that will be read and shared, but to ensure that the content is available to your target audience and you’re capable of converting prospects once they hit your website.

Create Quality and Educational Content for a Target Audience

It all begins with the content that your organization is generating. The content needs to be original, current, and focused on educating your target audience. Avoid sales pitches and glorifying your company, and concentrate on providing a solution to a potential or existing problem. Only through the composition of quality content will your articles, blogs, press releases, case studies, and white papers be shared. Not sure what qualifies as quality content? Take a look at your top ranking competition and note what they are distributing to their prospects and posting on their websites.

Market Your Content in a Myriad of Unique Ways

Now that you’ve spent the necessary time creating a stunning piece of content that is ready to be shared with the world, what’s next? Distribute it!
• First and foremost, post the content on your website to reap the SEO benefits
• Spread the content through your company’s social networks
• Leverage white paper promotion programs – costly but effective
• Distribute your press release through free and paid press release distribution websites
• Send out an email campaign with the newly developed content as the takeaway
• Submit your blog or article to blog directories
• Send your blog or article to industry focused websites as a guest submission
• Provide the content as a take-away from a webinar
Without sharing your content through numerous mediums, it will become stale on your website and will lack the traction necessary to attract your target audience.

Develop a Following on Your Website and Social Networks

As you develop content and share it through multiple platforms, you will slowly but surely develop a following. This following will include those who frequent your website for updates, subscribe to your RSS feed for blog or article posts, like and/or comment on your social media posts, or begin following you on social media networks. If you allow comments on your posts, your followers will likely let you know which posts they find entertaining or educational. Your following will typically be comprised of similar members of your industry, potential clients, and those curious about the content that you create.

It’s OK to Give Content Away For Free

Even though the primary reason for developing content is to generate leads, it is necessary to always give some content away for free. A website visitor is more likely to provide you with their contact information to view a white paper if they have already read a couple of blogs and understand the level of content that they will be receiving.

If you don’t like the idea of giving away quality content for nothing in return, there are ways around it. You know that email list that you’ve been building from website leads? Send them an email leveraging your newly written content with a link to where they can download it without filling out a contact form. Since you already possess their contact information, you don’t need to request it again and you’ll make your prospects feel as if they’re receiving complimentary content as they enter the nurturing process.

Remarket Quality Content in Various Ways

Content that has resonated in your online community should be remarketed in numerous ways. If you recently conducted a successful webinar in which your audience was captivated by your presentation and they asked intelligent questions that led to discussions with your sales team, take the webinar content from the slides and develop it into a thought provoking white paper. Keep your successful webinar posted on your website as an on-demand feature that your website visitors can view by submitting their contact information.

If you create a white paper and properly market it which leads to multiple sales opportunities, blog and write an article about the white paper, extracting the important information in a couple key pointers. Any piece of content can be reformatted in different ways. Be creative and get your point across; if the information is valuable enough, people will seek it out.

Promote Sharing on Your Website and Relevant Social Networks

All of the content that you create should have the ability to be shared on your active social networks. When posting to social networks, don’t be afraid to ask for likes, shares, or retweets depending on what platform you’re posting content to. Your website should be the central hub to all of the networks that you belong to, and the content should be ubiquitous across the networks.

Establish a Nurturing Process for Any Positive Action

Now that you’re on a roll developing content and properly promoting it across multiple platforms, make sure that your nurturing process is infallible. What happens when a prospect downloads a whitepaper, views a webinar, clicks through on an email campaign, comments on a post, spends 15 minutes on your website viewing six different pages, becomes a fan of your business page, follows you on Twitter?

To be effective in converting traffic into leads, you need to nurture your prospects by leveraging multiple subtle programs to ensure that you stay in front of them at all times. If the prospect isn’t currently in need of your solutions, ensure that when they have a need, you’re the first provider that comes to mind.

Implement Tracking Metrics to Understand What Your Website Audience Wants

It doesn’t do your organization any good if you have no way of knowing if your content marketing initiatives are working. Establish tracking methods to understand where your visitors are going when they hit your website. Know whether they’re reading your content based on how long they spend on a specific blog or article page and what solution pages are being hit with the most amount of traffic. Only by understanding what your prospects are interested in can you tailor your website to provide them with more of what they want.

Develop Complete Landing Pages to Enhance Conversion Rates

When providing content to a list of prospects or using Pay Per Click to drive traffic to specific content, landing pages are crucial to allow the visitor to understand what he/she will be receiving as well as processing the appropriate conversion of that page. I’ve seen too many times where companies drive traffic to their homepage or a product page and hope that the visitor can make 3-4 accurate decisions to properly navigate through their website and submit their information. This simply doesn’t work.

A proper landing page provides the visitor with a specific offer, a summary of the offer and what the prospect will learn, and a strategically placed contact form to be filled out. The page should also make it quite difficult to reach any other part of the website and this is why menu systems are typically removed from landing pages. Because of the removal of menus, landing pages typically have very high bounce rates, but that’s fine as long as you are receiving feedback from your contact form. When the feedback slows down, it is time to rethink your offer and the layout of the page.

Ensure Your Website Can Appropriately Handle the Traffic You’ll Generate

Granted you won’t go from receiving 50 daily visitors to 10,000 daily visitors overnight, but it is crucial to ensure that your website takes visitors down a specific path of conversion. Think of your website as a story that is being told to each visitor. You want them to have the freedom to explore at their own will, but you want them to all reach the same goal – the contact page. By ensuring that your website is coherent and provides appropriate call-to-actions, you can rest assured that conversions will begin to slowly trickle in.

5 Small Business Marketing Myths Debunked

Many small business owners understand the need to stay relevant in this digital age, but they fail to comprehend the necessary execution steps to ensure that they make the most out of their marketing efforts.  Developing a marketing strategy is essential when conducting a thorough and comprehensive execution plan, but the plan may backfire before it is implemented if you aren’t leveraging your marketing capabilities to their full capacity.  Below I’ve gone through a few small business marketing myths that prevent companies from achieving an optimal return.

SEO Techniques Aren’t As Important

Ever since the launch of Google Panda in February 2011, many website owners are moving away from tedious Search Engine Optimization techniques, thinking that their website won’t rank well because it can’t compete with news aggregation websites and social networks for specific keywords.  For the less techy savvy, Google Panda is an addition to Google’s search results ranking algorithm that has lowered the rank of “low quality sites” or “thin sites” to “return higher-quality sites near the top of the search results”.

Even though a small business website will never be capable of competing with news sources and social networks, SEO should not be discounted; this change simply modifies the playing field.  Instead of attempting to rank well for broad keywords, there is extra emphasis placed on ranking well for long tail keywords that properly depict the products and services that your website offers.  Small business owners especially need to continue to produce quality content and market it well, focusing mainly on link building campaigns to ensure that the content that is produced ranks well.

More Content Always Means More Traffic

Many website owners believe that the more content they produce, the more traffic their website will aggregate.  This is a common misconception and often degrades their websites because of the lack of quality content found.  It is ineffective to create and modify content on your website if you fail to market the content properly.  Always remember that quality takes precedence over quantity.  Ideally, numerous quality pieces distributed through varying marketing mediums and promoted on multiple social networks is the proper way to drive traffic to your content rich pages and ensure that your website does not lose credibility.

Social Media Should Take Precedence over a Website

It is essential to maintain a plethora of social media networks related to your specific business model to promote your organization but not at the cost of a well-designed and responsive website.  Social Media, although at the fore front of Internet surfers, needs to be addressed as an ancillary method to supporting the products, services, and content that exists on your website.  Think of your website as a central hub in which your social networks spider out from.  By linking your social networks to your website and vice versa, you create a web of content and information that locks in your visitors and ensures that they are exposed to your company’s reach through a myriad of websites.

Don’t Worry About Mobile

Even though mobile applications should not take precedence over your overall Internet presence, mobile cannot be ignored.  Internet enabled mobile devices have increased exponentially over the years and this trend will continue for years to come.  Especially with the proliferation of tablet computers and the shrinkage of desktop computers, mobile Internet access will continue to become more and more ubiquitous.  Instead of worrying about how your company will exist on mobile devices, build a website that is completely responsive, modified based on the device that is accessing the website.  By providing complete compatibility regardless of device, you will ensure that all of your visitors can access the information that you want them to see in a convenient and appropriate manner.

Email Marketing Is No Longer Effective

In regard to the proliferation of advanced spam filters, email verification programs, and social media, many small business owners believe that email marketing is no longer the optimal method of attracting visitors to their websites.  Even though email marketing has become more difficult due to a few obstacles, it remains to be one of the least expensive and most fruitful methods of marketing prospects with an offer.  From experience, I’ve generated hundreds of leads and opportunities for my various sales teams throughout my budding marketing career through email marketing.

I’ve delineated only a few of the many small business marketing myths that prevent many companies from accessing their full marketing potential.  It is essential to leverage every capable facet of marketing to ensure that your target audience is reached and made aware of your specific offerings.  If you are looking for advice on how to execute a specific marketing endeavor or an evaluation on how to better execute on your collective marketing initiatives, don’t hesitate to contact me directly at jbertoli5602@gmail.com.

How to Market a Home-Based Business

Marketing a home-based business relies almost entirely on your digital presence and word of mouth, but there are still a multitude of ways that home-based businesses can market themselves in a competitive manner and make themselves appear larger and more reputable. Here are a few ways that you can inexpensively market your home-based business:

Designing a Powerful, Responsive Website
Since you cannot rely on a physical location to provide your services, it is essential that you create and maintain a complete and professional website that delineates all of the products and/or services that you currently offer. In this day, a responsive website is ever more important. Considering all of the Internet enabled devices that each potential prospect owns, you must ensure that they can properly access your website regardless of the device at hand.

An eCommerce system is crucial for those who are selling products to provide prospects with the opportunity to make a purchase without picking up the phone. Testimonials from recent clients will help reinforce prospects to your aptitude and customer service. This should be obvious, but your website must have multiple ways of contacting you from phone number to email address, to strategically placed contact forms. There are very inexpensive ways of obtaining an 1-800 number and a professional email address so that you’re not flooding your Gmail account with business inquiries, especially since that appears “small” and unprofessional from the prospect’s perspective.

SEO/Link Building Strategy
Once your website is built and you’re happy with the layout, the next step is to drive traffic to your website by using search engine optimization and link building techniques. Building a website without the proper search engine optimization is comparable to building a house without a front door – no one will be able to get in. The best way to initiate your SEO plan is to first optimize and appropriately saturate each page of your website with 3-4 keywords that properly describe your business model.  Then, begin generating relevant content leveraging these specific keywords.

Blogs, case studies, press releases, and articles are all crucial to building up content on your site for the sake of credibility and search engine optimization. Also, begin submitting your website to relevant free and paid directories which will help boost your link building campaign. Search engines rank links to pages on your website, not just your homepage, as very important, and your overall ranking will increase based on the reputation of the website linking to your website and how relevant the link is. Other methods of link building include links on social networks, blog commenting, and article submissions.

Leverage Social Networks
Do not underestimate the power of social networks and how they can improve your overall branding. Without a physical location or the ability to properly utilize social networks such as Yelp and Foursquare, leveraging networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are that much more important. Creating profiles and business pages can help spread the news of your up and coming brand. Also, don’t simply stand behind your accounts with a megaphone and spew self-promotion to your followers and fans. You need to leverage these networks to search and find issues and problems that your products and/or solutions will solve.

Submit Press Releases When You Have News
By submitting press releases through distribution channels, you can inexpensively and efficiently spread the news about your home based business as well as greatly work on your link building campaign. There are a multitude of websites out there that will distribute your news for free or for a small fee to thousands of outlets and publications. Make sure to post your press release on your website before you submit it to these services so that your website is credited with the original content.

There are a myriad of other ways to market your home-based business efficiently and inexpensively, but these methods should get the ball rolling and get you on the map. If you have any questions or comments, or are looking for other methods of generating leads, feel free to contact me directly at john@jbertdesign.com.

How to Easily Optimize Every Page of Your Website

Most website owners get so caught up in the aesthetics of their site that they forget the main purpose – to convert visitors into leads. Here are a few tips on how to optimize every page of your website to convert prospects traversing your pages.

Contact – Without a method of contact, your website is simply a billboard for unobtainable services. At a bare minimum, your site requires a contact page as well as a simple means for your visitors to get there. A tab in your main menu is suffice at the basic level. More advanced and recommended methods of contact include a contact form on your contact page, a contact number, email address, and a live chat feature which can answer questions that prospects may have in real-time.

Call to Action – Every page of your website needs an obvious call to action. This call to action can be a simple contact button, bait in the form of an informative takeaway, or a sign up box to receive a newsletter and/or some form of collateral. A call to action lets the visitor know that your website is more than a fancy page. You have collateral that is important and cannot be obtained without providing some personal information. Requiring a visitor to provide their contact information for information is a fast and easy method to build contact lists organically.

Keyword Optimization – It is essential that your website, as a whole, is optimized for certain keywords so  prospects can search for and find your site, but it is equally important for each page on your website to be optimized for 2-3 unique keywords. By optimizing each page for unique keywords, you’re telling the search engines that your content isn’t repetitive from page to page and each page has important information that deserves individual links.

What Do Your Visitors See? – There are many free tools that can provide a landing page heat map of an individual page, allowing you to view what sticks out the most to a visitor. As a Web site owner, your perspective may become jaded after viewing each page of your website a couple hundred times over. By leveraging a heat map, you can reset your vision, and focus on what first-time visitors see.

Above the Fold – The fold, in marketing terms, is the boundary of what a visitor sees when accessing a page. Everything that is visible is considered “above the fold.” If the visitor needs to use the scroll bar to view a piece of content, the content is considered “below the fold.” Although it may seem obvious that websites need to keep all of their important content above the fold, in many instances, this is not the case. The area of your Web page that is above the fold should contain all of the information that a visitor would need to make a valid decision about what your website is offering and whether he/she needs what is being offered. This includes a main menu, contact button, call to action, access to services etc.

Leads Not Followers – It is important to link to social networks that your company exists on, but it is even more important to provide a call-to-action on each page as well as a means to contact you. Ideally, your company’s social networks, a call-to-action, and a method of contact should all be located above the fold.

For length constraints, I kept each point rather brief, but if you would like more information on a particular topic or would like to discuss optimization techniques, please reach out to me directly.

SEO Keyword Optimization Guide for Your Website

Keyword optimization is sometimes overlooked but can yield dividends if properly implemented and maintained throughout the life of your website. Keywords are the most important cog in the strategy of driving organic traffic to your website, so I’ve put together a list of high level attributes to keyword optimization and saturation that should be leveraged on all websites.

Quantity – On average, your website should utilize an total of 10-15 keywords, with each page of your website concentrating on 2-3 of these keywords. Websites that are optimized for more than 15 keywords are too diversified and cannot properly devote enough attention to each keyword. Websites that leverage less than 10 keywords put themselves in a position where they may not be able to optimize those few keywords properly. If the desired keywords for optimization on the website cannot be properly optimized, the website puts itself at risk of not being found via search engines.

Each page on the website should leverage 2-3 keywords. Since a webpage is tailored to specific content, it would become overbearing to devote enough attention to more than 3 keywords on a certain page. By only concentrating on one keyword, the page risks the chance of not being found for that desired keyword.

Density – Now that we’ve established how many keywords should be present on a website, the next question is how keyword dense should a certain webpage be? Think of a specific webpage as an advertisement. You need three things: a convincing message, keywords, and a specific call to action. With that in mind, the amount of keywords used on a webpage needs to be numerous but not overbearing to the point of turning your visitor away from your website. Keyword density can be calculated in the following manner:

Take the total word count on the webpage: 500

How many times is a specific keyword used on the web page: 20

Divide the number of keywords (20) by the total word count (500)

Multiply the answer (.04) by 100 to calculate the keyword density percentage (4%)

The density of a keyword on your webpage should be between 3-5%.

Experimentation – A great way to experiment to see which keywords are working on your website and which are wasted space is by using Google AdWords to test which keywords will provide the most traffic to your website. Since it’s quite difficult, though not impossible, to get your website ranked for high volume keywords, most strategies include developing long-tail keywords that are likely to be typed by a prospect searching for your services.

Other Promotional Methods – Your keywords don’t have to be limited to merely the text on your website. Headings, image names, alt tags, meta descriptions, meta keywords, and page titles can all be leveraged and saturated with keywords to fully optimize your website. To get an idea of how unlimited you are when it comes to keyword saturation, simply right click a page and choose “View Page Source.” Everything you see here can be saturated with keywords.

Revision – Keyword optimization and saturation is an ongoing process. Remember that fresh content rules all when it comes to search engines. Every page on your website needs to be properly optimized and updated on a regular basis to stay relevant in the eyes of the search gods.

In case you were wondering, here is the optimization of this page:

Keyword: 34 times

Website: 19 times

Page: 16 times

Ideal long-tail search phrase for this page: “How many keywords should I have on each page of my website?”