The Secret Sauce for Optimizing Your FAQ Page

photo credit: photopin

photo credit: photopin

Having the human touch is a no brainer for companies that are starting out.  It’s undeniable that, cost aside, companies would much rather have sales people closing deals in addition to their support team personally answering every inquiry and problem that arises.

However, many times this model simply isn’t scalable, which is why it is important to have a strong FAQ page.  A powerful (and often underutilized) tool, FAQ pages can be leveraged for both sales and customer service, playing a pivotal role with both current and prospective customers.

There are many reasons why customers would benefit from using your FAQ.  They may be following up from a sales presentation, they may be investigating about how to troubleshoot an issue, or they may be responding to your outbound campaign and are looking for more information.

Thus, its importance on your site is undeniable. Let’s walk through some ideas for how you can better leverage and quickly optimize your FAQ page.

Create Enticing Answers

When customers come to a FAQ page, they’re looking for specific answers like, how to cancel a membership, exact shipping prices, or fees associated with your product.  A yes/no answer is good and all, but having enticing and informative answers allows you to implement selling into your page.

Mix your answers with a catchy CTA.  For example – the FAQ may read, “Is there a deadline to register?” While a yes or no answer will work great here, use this opportunity to implement  Answer: “Register 3 days before the event and save $500.  Register Here!”  Embed clickable links and/or buttons in your answer so that your customer can easily execute on your CTA.

As a side note, don’t worry if you know nothing about programming or design. There are plenty of tools like Button Optimizer, and the WordPress Calls to Action that allow you to create beautiful calls to action for your website.

Search Function = Growth

Adding in search functionality is a must for any FAQ page. This functionality allows them to find information faster and for you to track their search queries, which sheds light on what your customers are most interested in on your FAQ page.

Knowing this information will allow you to improve other sections of your site.  For example, if customers are frequently searching for your return policy on your FAQ page, this should indicate that it isn’t prominent enough on your site, your product needs to be improved, or this question should populate higher on your page.

Allow For Further Reach Out

I’ve been to plenty of websites that have adopted this FAQ model, solely relying on it for their customer support.  I agree with the “let the customer answer his or her own question” approach, but quite frankly, only when it is easy to use.  For example, some sites use a forum as their FAQ, and I often find myself running in circles trying to find the answer to my questions.  To make matters worse, I then discover that there is no “contact us” option.  Chances are, you have been frustrated by a similar FAQ in the past.  Not good.

What makes a well-optimized FAQ forum is having the option to ask the network, but also the ability to call the company directly for more in-depth support.

New Hires are Your Best Friend

As your company grows, leverage the new employees that join your team. During their first week, make sure to set time aside to have them read over the FAQ. The content is new to them and they aren’t indoctrinated in the phrases and acronyms of your company culture. A fresh eye increases your ability to spot confusion and stagnation. Make it an onboarding task to review the FAQs and point out anything that looks a little iffy.

Build in SEO Friendly Words

Many times FAQ pages are like overcooked Yukon Gold potatoes – bland and dry.  By making it SEO friendly you will not only make it easier to read, but you’ll simultaneously boost your SEO rankings.

To do this, make sure each question has words and phrases that relate to your business.  For example, instead of “how does it work?” change it to something like “how does the grocery delivery service work?” This small change makes your content more relatable and relevant to outsiders who might stumble upon your content.

As you can see, having these small additions to your FAQ page will boost your customers happiness, improve the UX of your site, and at the end of the day boost sales.

IMGP2199As a marketing manager at HourlyNerd, Todd Stewart leads the charge in promoting, facilitating, and curating business content for the leading on-demand business consulting platform.  In October 2014, he wrote an eBook for HourlyNerd, LinkedIn, and Hubspot on personal online branding, and in January 2015, he wrote a sales eBook on how to use your 2014 sales data to plan for a strong 2015. Outside of marketing, Todd is an adjunct Public Speaking Professor at Bryant University in Rhode Island specializing in introductory, persuasive, informative, and motivational speaking.  Todd currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts and is a competitive marathon runner. 

4 “MUST DOs” to Drastically Improve Your Website’s On-Page Optimization

SEOThe first thing that most people do when they have a question nowadays is to “Google” it. In fact, that is the way many people research the product or service that they are buying.

It’s the dream of many small businesses to appear on the 1st page of a competitive search term or “keyword” ahead of their competitors. So pay attention to know how to optimize your website for search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo to find your business.

Generally speaking there is off-page and on-page optimization. Off-page optimization essentially relates to having more back-links to your website. On-page optimization refers to what you can do on your own website.

Here are 4 things you must do to improve your On-Page Optimization:

1. Have different landing pages for keyword themes

If you have keyword themes for your online search strategy, create landing pages such as: one for the main theme (keyword), one for competitor terms, one for each pain point you are trying to solve, etc. By breaking them up into different pages, you not only keep the page uncluttered, concise and easy-to-read, but also potentially be able to rank well on each of those terms.

Having more optimized pages, also means that more of your pages could end up on 1st page. One of my SEO expert partners dominated the first page of search results with high-quality pages containing the main keyword term as well as the other keyword themes, effectively “blocking” out their competition.

Remember to use hyperlinks to link pages within your website (internal links) with relevant terms to improve search results as well. Google robots will navigate from one page to the other and index your pages, checking the quality of content. This will boost the quality of your central pages (mostly the main navigation bar items: Home, Contact Us, About, Services, etc). The choice of anchor texts (what text is seen by the viewer as they click on the hyperlink) can also give you an additional boost.

2. Improve the performance & experience of your website

Google has listed performance and experience as one of the factors in your page ranking. Your website will be heavily disadvantaged if it is not responsive to different devices and screen sizes. You will also be penalized for poor loading speeds and poor site navigation (leads to high bounce rates too).

So add to your to-do-list to make your site mobile-friendly, check your hosting for speed and get a WebMaster account on Google and Bing, to submit your sitemap.

Try these Free Tools: Page Speed Testing, Mobile-Friendliness.

In fact, the performance and experience of your website also controls the quality score when you are doing paid advertisements, so it is worthwhile to invest into improving the performance and experience of your site. <Read about: What is Google Quality Score? What is Bing Ads Quality Score?>

Good Work3. Use WordPress SEO Yoast for page and post optimization

If you like most small businesses use WordPress as your CMS, a very useful plugin is SEO Yoast, which helps you to optimize pages and posts. It gives you a “green” light if your post or page is optimized.

 

There are a few factors:

  1. Starting with the URL Permalink: the keyword should ideally be part of the URL.
  2. Put the keyword in the Title of the page if it appears should be natural and not forced.
  3. The use of <h1>, <h2> …  sub-header tags is a minor advantage, and should be used logically. The keyword should not appear unnaturally in all sub-headers.
  4. While the Keywords should appear in the article, there is no fixed rule for how many times it should appear a.k.a. “Keyword Density.” In fact over-using the keyword may lead to penalties. According to an expert I consulted, Google may also compare it with “similar” businesses to check for a usual ratio of keywords.
  5. Lastly, while the meta Description does not affect ranking, it does affect conversion (meaning higher chance someone would click your search result than others). For example, we recently discovered that our welcome gate which gives away an ebook became our default website description. This would not help in converting someone searching for “Infusionsoft Singapore” our targeted keyword.

Search 1

Instead we resubmitted the sitemap, and now it is:

Search 2

which gives a clearer call to action: our telephone number and the relevant information, the prospect may be searching for.

4. Focus on good quality content not quantity

Google is moving towards quality content instead of quantity when determining page ranking. Spending more time to write good quality stuff that your potential customers want to know about, reduces the bounce rate (increasing experience), increases retention, as well as attracts more people to SHARE your articles.

Since you invested so much into content, you should then create different versions of it: podcasts, videos, transcriptions, infographics, PDFs, slides etc, and then post it on SlideShare, Scribd, Podcasting sites, Video-sharing sites, Infographics Directories (10 places to submit your infographics) and social sites (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram etc). Remember to point it back to your site (backlinks).

Other good (off-page) strategies to distribute your content are guest blogging (like this one), forums that are relevant (example: commenting in personal style magazines forums for hair-care professionals), and selected article directories.

Brendan YongBrendan Yong is a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant specialized in marketing automation based in Singapore. His company Empathi Solutions helps Asia-based clients build Marketing Systems to Grow Predictable Revenue using Infusionsoft CRM as the primary marketing automation tool.

 

Landing Page Optimization – The Online Marketing Practice You Should Be Using

photo credit: Flickr

photo credit: Flickr

Landing pages are the first thing your customers see. People make judgments in an average of a few seconds. If they get the wrong impression, they won’t give you a second chance. You have no room for error here. In this article, we’re going to show you why you should be paying attention to landing page optimization.

The Conversion Funnel Path

Your conversion funnel path is the direct path from landing on a website to making an actual purchase. Your landing page should act as the beginning of this path.

Once your customer sees your flagship product, one click should take them to the purchasing page. Your landing page can serve to reduce the number of steps taken to make a successful purchase, which increases the chance of a successful purchase.

Quick Info Forms

Landing page optimization involves using quick info forms to log user data. Logging user data is an easy way to influence future marketing campaigns.

Without a landing page, which many websites don’t have, users could enter your website in any number of ways. A landing page offers one gateway. If you look at Forbes, if you try to enter any page you’ll be momentarily redirected to their welcome page. This means they can track users from one place.

Anticipation

Optimizing your landing page is about so much more than getting ready for Google. When we talk about optimizing, we’re talking about making your page a hit amongst your customers. There’s little need to do well with Google if your human customers aren’t responding in the right way.

Here are some of the benefits of concentrating on your human customers with your optimization efforts:

  • You create anticipation.
  • You create a sense of urgency with a strong call to action.
  • You’re concentrating on what makes you money. In other words, the customer conversion.

Remember that optimization for the web is entirely pointless if you’re not making any money. Traffic means nothing if none of the visitors is converting into customers.

Prevent Information Clutter

One hazard you must guard against is information clutter. It’s tempting to try to throw as much data onto this tiny landing page as possible. Cramming makes your pages LESS effective.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to deterring information clutter:

  1. Decide on a single goal for your landing page. This should be represented within your call to action.
  2. What does the customer need to know right now? Remember, you’re only convincing them to move to the dedicated product page.
  3. The sense of urgency and playing on people’s natural curiosities is far more important than exuding every benefit the product has to offer.

Does it Mean Everything

Landing page optimization is one of the most underrated marketing techniques in the world. Nevertheless, it can’t cover for a poor-quality product or a poor quality website.

Yes, optimization will always involve the use of carefully researched keywords in order for Google to index your website properly. Target the right audience and you’ve already completed half the battle.

To make landing page optimization work for you, you have to present your product in the right way. Keep it simple and place emphasis on that call to action. If you’ve done it right, you’ll soon start to reap the benefits.

 

alesia_newAlesia Hsiao is a professional marketing writer who has written articles for credible websites. In her spare time, she writes as a contributor for FindVietnam.com.

 

How To Get More SEO Value Out of Your Existing Content

Most bloggers would agree that high-quality content creation requires a significant investment in time and energy. Because of this sunk cost associated with any existing content on your website, it’s crazy that bloggers don’t invest additional resources improving, optimizing and ranking underperforming pages. This is especially true when certain posts are just shy of reaching the first page of Google’s search results, where they could be earning you a return on your investment.

With a few of the tactics below, digital marketers can make sure that every piece of content they publish is generating traffic, leads, and ultimately revenue.

Use Google’s Webmaster Tools To Optimize Headlines and Keywords

Are you ever surprised at some of the keywords a post ends up ranking for? Even when you complete keyword research, decide to target a specific phrase, and optimize the post to rank for that term, you sometimes end up getting traffic from unexpected terms. If you find a post that isn’t ranking for your targeted keyword due to higher than anticipated competition, then maybe it’s better to repurpose the post and optimize it for another term.

To find these types of posts, you will need to access Google’s Webmaster Tools. Click on the “Search Analytics” tab on your Dashboard, or go under “Search Analytics” at the left and choose “Search Analytics” there.

GWT - Search Analytics

I prefer the old “Search Queries” report, so I click on the link towards the top of the page. Now you need to click on the “Top Pages” tab, sort by “Impressions”, and expand the tabs you are interested in analyzing. If you have a large blog, instead of working within your browser, you may want to click on “Download This Table”.

GWT - Top Pages

Ultimately what you are looking for are pages that have high impression counts but low clickthroughs (CTRs). These pages constitute your highest potential content because they are getting exposure in Google’s rankings but aren’t high enough to get more clicks. Optimizing these pages could easily earn you significantly more traffic.

Here are a few ways to optimize your titles and on-page SEO:

  • Use a hyphen or colon. When writing a title, I create for both Google and humans. The first half of the title is usually an exact match keyword phrase and the second half is a killer description to get the reader’s attention. For example, if I wrote an article about affiliate marketing, I would title it “CPA Marketing – How To Increase Your Affiliate Marketing Revenue By 137%”.
  • Add more content. When targeting additional keywords, it may be helpful to add more content that directly addresses the related topic, thereby increasing your post’s relevance. In doing so, you may rank for even more long-tail terms.
  • Target lower competition terms. If you’re a small business owner learning how to build a blog, you should not be targeting high-volume, high-competition keywords. This strategy will quickly exhaust your resources with little results. Always start with easy terms to build traffic and recognition, and as your blog’s backlink profile strengthens, target more valuable keywords. If a page is underperforming, this might be the underlying issue.

Internal Linking – Connecting Old and New Content

Internal linking is easily overlooked and underappreciated. Not only does internal linking old pages to new and new pages to old help decrease bounce rate, increase time on site, multiply your email subscribers and promote conversions, it can provide a slight boost in your on-page SEO and rankings.

In an algorithm that takes into account over 200 ranking signals, each given a different weight, a small boost in one category that pushes you up a position can get you double the traffic from a single keyword.

While internal linking is mostly self-explanatory, here are a few guidelines:

  • Find older, authoritative posts that rank high and add internal links to newer, high-value posts.
  • Don’t use the same exact match anchor text to link to a page dozens of times. Diversify your internal links and incorporate long-tail keywords.
  • Internal linking offers subtle results. Even if the tactic doesn’t increase your rankings, it can provide a better user experience, keep readers on your site longer, and most likely improve conversions.

Other Tactics To Leverage Old Content

While the suggestions above constitute the easiest adjustments you can make overnight, there are other ways to grow your blog using your existing content. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Outreach marketing. On-page SEO is important, but a campaign to increase your blog’s exposure and earn natural links will boost not only the page you are marketing but improve your entire site’s authority.
  • Share your content more than once. Perhaps you’ve developed a great resource that you’ve recently updated. Be sure to re-share old work that stands the test of time, but know the best times to post on social media so your content isn’t buried or unseen.
  • Create different forms of multimedia. Bloggers and internet users absolutely love images, graphics and different types of media. Creating a quality infographic using your existing content may be the solution to grabbing people’s attention, increasing shares, and earning links.

Gary DekGary Dek is a professional blogger, SEO expert, and freelance writer. He is the founder of StartABlog123.com as well as a dozen other niche websites and specializes in content marketing and link building strategies. Previously, Gary was an investment banking and private equity analyst.

3 Simple Steps to Determining Your Website’s Conversion Rates

Conversion Rates

photo credit:123rf.com

The idea of conversion rate is nothing new, but I’m always surprised by how many small businesses with a web presence are ignoring this key metric in their business.

If your website is a key component of your sales and marketing process, determining your conversion rate can paint an accurate (and often surprising) picture of what’s really going on with your website.

If you’re wondering what a conversion rate is, here’s the simplest answer for a complex topic. It’s the percentage of visitors to your site that complete a specific goal. For example, how many visitors to your site purchase a certain package, sign up for your newsletter or book a consult.

You can calculate your conversion rate using this quick formula:

# of Goal Completions/ Total # Visitors = Your Conversion Rate

#1. Understand Why You Should Care About Conversion Rates

Typically, when it comes to measuring website success, we look at our total number of visitors per month.

We login to Google Analytics and note we’re getting a certain number of visitors per month, so we feel like our marketing efforts are working. Or we decide that we need to work on getting more traffic to our site.

But measuring website traffic without understanding our conversion rate provides a skewed picture of our performance. We can focus our marketing efforts on trying to increase our traffic to our website, or we can spend our time optimizing the site so we can convert more visitors into action.

If you already have people visiting your site, improving your conversion rate gives you a tangible way to boost key business metrics. For example, if you currently convert 1% of your visitors into buyers, what happens if you double your conversion rate to 2%, or even 3%?

Instead of focusing marketing efforts on generating more and more traffic that may not convert, focusing on conversion rate optimization enables you to improve your performance over time.  The truth is, if you can’t convert your traffic into subscribers or buyers, your marketing is failing so matter how much traffic you may have.

#2. Figure Out What You Want to Measure

To get started with figuring out your current website conversion rates, you need to first figure out what exactly you want to measure.

What are key things you want visitors to your website to do when they arrive? Here are some ideas:

  • Purchase a specific product or service.
  • Book a consult.
  • Request more information.
  • Sign up for email updates or a free offer.
  • Free trial signups.
  • Whitepaper or ebook downloads.

These are some basic to measure as you get started. As you get more comfortable working with your conversion rate, you can get more sophisticated and segment your data to give you even more insight. For example, with sales, you may look at how many of your sales are from new visitors or returning visitors, or looking at the source of that traffic in more detail.

#3. Use Google Analytics to Track Your Conversion Rates

Measuring conversion rate is much simpler than more people realize, and can be done using a tool that most of us are already familiar with, Google Analytics.

Google Analytics’ Goals feature enables you to set up goals on your site that will track your conversion rate on specific visitor activities.

Before you go ahead and set up a goal, you’ll need the following:

  • A clear idea of the goal you want to measure: sales, subscribers, etc.
  • A separate thank you or landing page that your visitor arrives on once they’ve completed the goal. This can be a page on your site or set up using a tool like LeadPages. The most important thing is that your page is attached to that goal and you’re not sending other traffic to it or you’ll skew your data.

Now you’re ready to set up a goal, which will only take you a few minutes. You can find a short tutorial from Google here, or you can watch a video walk through of setting up a goal here.

There are several different types of goals you can set up, but for basic conversion rate information on your site, focus on URL destination goals.  Once you’ve nailed the essentials, you can come back and set up goal funnels or look at event-driven goals for more advanced data.

Tracking your conversion rates may seem like extra work, but once you get started, you’ll quickly see how various offers and elements of your site are performing and what visitors to your site are actually doing once they arrive.  From there you’ll have what you need to work on optimize your site and start turning more browsers into buyers.

 

LPsquareheadshotMaggie Patterson is a communications strategist and conversions-focused copywriter who works with small businesses to help them create thriving online-based businesses. She has 15 years of experience as a marketing consultant and her work has been featured on sites including Entrepreneur.com, Virgin.com and Social Media Examiner. You can learn more about how to optimize your small business website to convert more browsers into buyers with Maggie’s free 7-Day Conversions Challenge. You can get immediate access to the challenge here.

Geo-Targeting Can Skyrocket Your Conversion Rates!

As the internet continues to grow at an exponential rate, the average web user is overloaded with a vast amount of information. Website owners only have a few seconds to convince someone that the content on their website is worthwhile reading before the visitor moves on. While there are many methods of engaging your visitors and increasing conversion rates, one that is hardly spoken of but is used by all the big players is ‘Geo-Targeting’.

Geo-Targeting in simple terms refers to targeting a visitor based on their geolocation (country, state or city). It involves dynamically delivering web content so that it is highly related to your visitor’s location. Relevant information is the key in catching a visitor’s attention and improving engagement. People are naturally drawn to events and deals that are happening around them. By Geo Targeting your website’s information, your visitors will feel more comfortable and familiar with the content displayed. This will not only enhance their browsing experience, but it will increase trust, separating you from your competitors.

Common Geo-Targeting Techniques

Geo-Targeted Content

A simple example of geo-targeting web content is dynamically altering phone numbers based on a visitor’s location. Having a phone number right on top of the website is a great way to improve call through rates for your business. However, as this space is prime real estate, it only makes sense to display the relevant phone number to the visitor. Geo-targeting can avoid having to display a long list of phone numbers in your website’s footer or on a separate page altogether.

Geo-Targeted Popups

Displaying popups on your website based on a visitor’s location is a great way to target promotions. Let us take a restaurant business, for example, that has several branches spread around the country. Each branch could be running a different deal. The branch in Los Angeles is offering 10% off all burgers. The branch in San Francisco could be offering half price Tuesdays and so on. Using a single website, the restaurant can display the relevant deal to each of its local audiences in the form a popup.

Geo-Targeted URL Redirects

Global companies often have multiple versions of their website tailored to suit each country with a country level domain (.au, .co.uk, .fr, .my, etc.).  Having a local domain can greatly increase trust and relevance. It also makes it easy for the company to completely tailor the website to suit the local audience. Most of these global companies utilize automatic URL redirection to the local domain based on the visitor’s country. This is called geo redirection and it is the most widely used geo-targeting technique.

Airbnb As An Example

Below are screenshots of Airbnb.com taken from California and Singapore respectively. You will notice the 3 accommodation images when viewed from California are Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Monterey, all of which are located in California. When Airbnb.com is accessed from Singapore, the images automatically show accommodation in cities from countries neighboring Singapore. This is a perfect example of how a large organization utilizes Geo-Targeting to display relevant information to their visitors.

Airbnb.com Viewed From California

airbnb1

 

Airbnb.com Viewed From Singapore

airbnb2

 

How To Geo Target Your Website?

Geo-targeting is a severely underutilized technique not only because of the complexity but the cost of implementation. First off, in order to obtain a visitor’s geo location accurately and non-intrusively, you will require an IP to location database which converts a visitor’s IP address to a usable location. These databases don’t come cheap and they need to be updated frequently. Implementing such a database and writing code in your website to create rules for delivering content, popups and URL redirects based on location will require an advanced level developer making it unaffordable for most small businesses. Or, you can choose to work with a more cost-effective and simple software solution that doesn’t require the complex IP tracking technology.

Once you’ve installed a system to pull the location of your website visitors, you’ll then be able to examine your traffic and strategize the best ways to geo-target them with special offers, varied verbiage, etc.

Happy geo-targeting!

headshotVarun Ramesh is the founder of Geolify and previously an automation engineer in the mineral processing industry. He is now passionate about ‘automation for websites’ as the internet becomes more intelligent and dynamic in nature.

7 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your PPC Guy: An Easy-To-Use Checklist

As a small business owner, you know your business. But do you have time to master PPC? If not, you’ll want to hire someone to do this for you.

That’s why I’ve created this checklist — to help you pick the right PPC person and make sure they get the ROI what you want.

There are 7 critical things I’ve learned in my 14 years of optimizing PPC accounts. Having these at hand helps you get what you need out of your PPC guy. Let’s get started…

#1: Make Sure Your PPC Guy Uses Your Adwords Account For Their Work

If your PPC guy doesn’t use your Adwords account, you may not “own” the work they do for you. If you change providers, everything they’ve done for you may be lost.

Before hiring any PPC expert, ask, “Are you going to upload the campaigns you create to my account?” “Yes” is the only right answer for two reasons…

  • You “own” the work they do.  This way, if you change providers, you can just remove their access and keep the work that’s been done.
  • And it increases transparency.  If it’s in your account, you can check on the status of the campaigns without having to bug your PPC guy. You just login and do a spot check.

Bottom line: get this or walk away.

#2: Verify How Much Work They’re Actually Doing

ppc1It’s crucial you confirm the work they’re actually doing. Here’s how…

Once a week, go to “Change History” in your Adwords Account and go to “Tools”, and click on “Campaigns”. Then, click on “Change History”.

A log of what work has been done will come up. Then you can confirm the changes are what you agreed to.

#3: Ensure They Avoid Broad Match Keywords (With One Exception)

Adwords has five “match types” you can use for the keywords you’re targeting)…

  • Broad match
  • Modified broad match
  • Exact match
  • Phrase match
  • Negative keywords (I’ll discuss this later in the post)

Make sure your PPC contractor is using some combination of modified broad match, exact match and phrase match only.

A campaign with just broad match keywords lets Google give you the “kitchen sink” approach to showing your ads. This will dilute your ROI and hurt results.

The exception is when you’re marketing to a small to mid-size geographic region. In this case, your market will be smaller and you may have to use broad match to generate enough views of your ads (impressions).

#4: Confirm They’re Adding Negative Keywords

Adding Negative Keywords should be added to curb unrelated traffic. It will:

  • improve the quality of your traffic
  • reduce wasted spend and
  • improve your ROI
  • and boost your click-thru-rate (CTR).

Make sure this is part of your PPC guy’s plan and then confirm he does it each week.

#5: Insist They Specialize In PPC Only

Change is constant in SEO and Adwords. That means an expert in either has to specialize in either one to stay current and provide value.

No one can be really amazing at both. The bottom line:

If you want an SEO guy, hire an SEO guy. If you want a PPC guy, hire a PPC guy. As the saying goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

#6: Verify Their Adwords Certification Is Current & Valid

When hiring a PPC guy, you’ll really want to make sure they’re Adwords certified. This means they’ve taken and passed a series of demanding tests from Google to prove their know-how.

So, before hiring someone, ask them for a link to their Adwords certification. Make sure it’s valid and current. This avoids problems down the road.

#7: Approve All Keyword & Campaign Creation Steps

No PPC guy will know as much about the intricacies of your business as you do.

This means that he’s going to have to rely on your expertise to guide his research and campaign creation. Therefore, make sure that you get to review and approve the keywords they’re going to use.

On top of that, make sure you get to look at and approve the campaign before it goes live (and you start spending money).

You’ll probably catch little things that they missed because of your industry knowledge. I’ve seen this save clients a lot of money.

What All This Means For You

Use this checklist and you can make sure of two things:

  1. you’ve picked the right PPC guy
  2. once hired, you can make sure he’s delivering on his promises

You’re ready to start succeeding at Adwords!
Tim GogginTim Goggin is the founder of recessionRebirth, Inc. – a PPC & Facebook consulting agency. They help small- to medium-sized businesses create money-making ads, generate & convert more leads and accelerate the growth of their ROI. Download his free supplementary checklist, “10 More Ways To Get The Most Of Your PPC Guy” here. Once signed up, claim a free Adwords audit (limited to first 9 businesses that apply).

 

How to Use Email Tracking to Dramatically Ramp Up Sales

It’s no secret that email marketing metrics offer great insights.  They let you learn from your customers’ behavior and steer your marketing ship accordingly.

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 7.04.09 AM

But how do you find the best strategy for connecting with customers and prospects directly?  Welcome to the world of email tracking.

Email tracking will let you use context to your advantage.  This is huge because getting in front of recipients at the right time will drastically increase your likelihood of winning their business.

How Email Tracking Works

Tracking platforms live on your email service.  Most track opens, clicks, and responses, and they let you store and test email templates.

The technology works by embedding a small transparent image in each email, which is hosted on the platform’s servers.  The platform knows the email is opened when the image is accessed.  Email links are converted to tracked links so clicks can be measured.

The Right Strategy

1. Start with a Great Email

Your email should offer value.  When you’re reaching out to a prospect or customer, ask yourself, “What will he helpful to this person, even if they never hire us?”

Here is an example.  It’s optimized for tracking, which we’ll cover next.

Hi Rachael,I’ve been a fan of [COMPANY] since I read about you in Inc.  I’m glad I finally have a good reason to reach out.We created a tool for measuring email marketing ROI (attached), which we’re rolling out to two companies this month.  Our owner suggested I include you because a couple of your competitors, [Co.A] & [Co.B], responded well.In addition to discussing the tool, I’d like to hear what you’re doing for email marketing.  Even if you don’t hire us anytime soon, I promise you will leave with valuable information.

Can we have a quick call on Wednesday @ 2p?  We’ll need less than 15 minutes.

Best,

Dan

2. Track Clicks Strategically

With the above in mind, include the tracked link at the end so you’ll know if the message was read.

3.  Connect with Context  

Use tracking to understand email context and respond accordingly.  As Mike Volpe, CMO of Hubspot, argues, “Getting calls from reps when I’m on their website or actually reading their email is much more relevant to my day and my schedule.”

4.  Follow Up at the Perfect Time

One of the biggest questions is “When should I follow up?”  Tracking answers that question with concrete data.  Use the technology in conjunction with other timing-based tools to improve your follow ups.

5.  A/B Test Templates

When crafting email templates, make the differences big.  Compare apples to apples: don’t stack the results from customers against those from prospects, and vice versa.

6.  Measure Results

After you send a solid number of direct emails (ie. 50+), review the results.  From there, create a new template and test it against the old one.

But What About Privacy Concerns?

If tracking feels weird, remember that you don’t have to track everything.  Track your pitch email only.  Also, you can include a line at the end of your message letting recipients know about the technology, and that no personal information will be shared.

Email Tracking Platforms

YesWare

YesWare hooks up to Gmail as an extension in Chrome or Firefox.  It’s free for up to 100 emails per month, and $12 per user per month for unlimited messages.

SideKick by Hubspot

If you’re already on Hubspot, then SideKick might be your best bet.  It’s free for up to 200 tracked emails per month, and $10 per user/month for unlimited.

ToutApp

Tout is another popular platform.  It’s much more robust than the others in terms of analytics and other features.  It starts at $30/month after a free trial.

SalesForce Tracking for Outlook

If SalesForce and Outlook are your world, then this may be most convenient.

Tracking is a valuable tool, but it’s not a silver bullet: it must be used in conjunction with a strong value proposition.  Assuming you’re reaching out to the right person with the right message, tracking will leverage context and bring you to a higher level.

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 7.06.38 AMDan Englander is the author of “Mastering Account Management”.  He’s the founder of Sales Schema, a site that helps professionals find the right balance between sales and customer or client service.  And he’s a decent living room guitarist.  Follow him @danspalace