Your Website Should Be Your Best Salesperson

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Your website should function as your best salesperson by providing all the answers to your prospects questions. Look at it this way – where else can customers learn about your business 24/7/365? Your website never sleeps and is available worldwide. If you know exactly what pains your services or products solve, then all of that should be easily understood on your website. There are not any human salespeople that can offer that level of service.

Does Your Website Know Everything About Your Business?

If you are using employees to market your business, you have training programs to familiarize them with your company’s products and services. Any information that you would provide to an employee in that role needs to be on your website. Again, your website is your best salesperson because it is the most readily accessible source of information for potential customers.

Your website needs to be thorough and complete. It should have every single piece of information you have on your mission, your vision, your values (branding), along with full descriptions of your products, services, and pricing. It is incredibly frustrating for consumers when there are minimal descriptions and no pricing information. Yes, some consumers may balk on price, but that is often because you have not adequately described your value. Be transparent; this goes a long way in today’s digital market.

Do You Measure the Success of Your Site?

It is essential to measure the success of your website. The problem is that most people use the wrong metrics. There is a focus on hits, click-throughs, bounce rates, etc. In the end, however, there is only one measurement that matters: sales.

website metrics for your website, your best salesperson

One of the best rules of thumb is to compare the number of subscribers on your email list (you are building an email list, right?) to your revenue. The bare minimum you should be going for is one dollar in revenue per subscriber, per month. Many websites reach multiples in the 100s of dollars per subscriber, but if you’re just getting started, $1 per subscriber per month is a good base target.

If you have no idea what metrics you should be looking at read the 5 digital marketing goals you should measure.

The second thing to look at is continuity. A common saying in marketing is, “if you do not have continuity, you do not have an online business.” But what is continuity? Continuity is a business model that has a monthly or annual subscription or membership fee. Amazon Prime is a continuity program. You do not have to sell things like training, webinars, or services to have continuity programs.

If your revenues are not making that one dollar a month threshold, then that is when you can start delving deeper into your bounce rates, click-throughs, etc. If you are achieving your revenue goals, then spending time analyzing the nondollar metrics does not make a lot of sense when you have a limited staff of analysts. Not only that, but a lot of these metrics are also available in your Google tools.

Does Your Website Offer Complete Info on All of Your Products/Services?

There is nothing more frustrating for consumers than incomplete product information. Make sure that your website is the best source of information about your products and services.

Be sure to include details, videos, pricing information, FAQs, and customer reviews on your website. If appropriate, set up on-demand webinars where you can explain your products or services on a live webinar, and then record it for later viewing. The recorded webinar should also allow viewers to ask questions that you can compile into a FAQ for your website.

Your website cannot do its job as your best salesperson if you don’t give it all the information that it needs. That would be like hiring new employees, giving them a demo product and no other information, and kicking them out to the street to sell. It would not end very well.

Website Must-Haves

To achieve success with your website, there are several things that are important to consider. The following are six things that should be a priority for your website.

Modern and Easy to Navigate Design

While content may be king, the design is most assuredly its queen. Although the aesthetics of design do not impact Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it does impact things like bounce rate (how long a customer stays on your site) and click-throughs (where customers click through to other content on your site after their initial landing page).

Poor design can also impact technical SEO, which will be discussed later in this article. For now, it is crucial to understand that the visual appeal of your site influences how consumers perceive your site.

Design is also essential when considering accessibility. Every site should take into consideration the millions of consumers with accessibility issues such as visual impairments, hearing impairments, and limitations to mobility that might make navigating your site difficult.

For example, all videos should be subtitled for the hearing impaired. While it may sound great to have a video with energetic music playing in the background as pictures flash on the screen, it does little for either the visually or hearing impaired consumer. The visually impaired consumer cannot see the video, so all they hear is music, and the hearing impaired consumer is left wondering if there was any real information conveyed that they could not hear.

easy to navigate websites make your best salesperson

Mobile Optimization

More and more consumers are using their smartphones to shop online. Therefore, the speed and performance of your site on mobile is critical. Your designs should be “responsive.” In other words, the design of your site should look relatively the same, whether viewed on a phone, a tablet, or a computer. Many of today’s design tools allow you to view your pages in each mode without needing to switch devices.

Google also tests your site’s speed and mobile responsiveness and grades it according to established standards. You can get this information from your Google tools. Your ranking here is also another one of the ranking factors that Google considers when ranking for SEO.

Up-to-Date Content: SEO is King

SEO is your path to a page one position on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). SEO begins with keywords. These are the words and phrases that searchers enter into the query box of the search engine to bring up a listing of relevant websites.

The exact content of the Google search algorithm is kept secret, and is refined continuously. If people know what the criteria were, they would all do the same things. You would have equal scores that would make it impossible to determine who received a top ranking position.

SEO is how you attract traffic for free. By optimizing your content using best practices for SEO, you will evolve your content over time to reach page one. 

Variety of Content

You should have two styles of content on your website: pillar pages and blog posts. Pillar pages consist of long-form (1,000-5,000 word) content that is evergreen. Evergreen content is content that is valuable now and will continue to be valuable five years from now. It is not about trending topics; it is about the fundamentals of your business. You can always make updates to these pillar pages if any of the information changes.

Blog posts are more conversational and address the trending topics in your industry. They can be any length (but we recommend nothing shorter than 850 words) and can be used to communicate things like sales, news of the day, fun facts about your company, etc. The sky’s the limit when it comes to blog posts as they are designed to be read on a daily/weekly basis and are not considered evergreen content.

Social Media Integration

The proliferation of social media apps makes it challenging to choose how to interact with your customer. Unless you have a huge in-house marketing department, it is unlikely you can master them all. Here is how your website can assist.

First, decide what social media platforms you want to have human interactions on. Then, add “Follow us on [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.]” buttons added to the header or footer of your website so that they appear on every page.

Next, make sure that you enable social sharing on all of your content. Social sharing is a powerful way to boost your position in the SERP because social sharing creates backlinks to your site. Google interprets these shares as indications that you are an authority on the topic that is being written about and ties into your overall SEO strategy.

Site Security

To achieve page one of the SERP, Google now requires sites to have a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. That certificate is what makes the transfer of information to/from the site secure, and is indicated by the “s” in the “https:” portion of your URL. SSL certificates are now free from many sources, and your web host probably has a method of applying a free certificate to your site. If not, a Google search for “free SSL certificate” should yield the applicable instructions.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO are things that are considered by Google that are not keyword related. These include:

  • Site maps
  • Alt-text
  • Tags
  • Structured Data Markup
  • Broken links
  • Backlinks
  • Page speed
  • Well-formed CSS and JavaScript usage

Technical SEO, as well as more in-depth information on keyword usage is beyond the scope of this particular article. It is important to be aware of these ranking factors, however.

What Consumers Want From Your Website

A HubSpot study of consumers found that 76% of consumers say that they want a website that makes it easy for them to find what they are searching for. Contrast this with only 10% of respondents who stated that they are looking for a website that has a beautiful appearance. Functionality is a priority if your website is your best salesperson.

Other Reasons Why Your Website is Your Best Salesperson

Your website is often a forgotten salesperson but it is doing its best for you in many ways:

  • Your website is always selling
  • Your website is always on brand
  • Your website can do things that a salesperson can’t do
  • Your website can juggle multiple customers and tasks simultaneously
  • Your website is always a team player

Your website never complains and always works as hard as you do (and doesn’t cause any unnecessary office drama). There is not an employee in the world that competes with your website’s ability to bring customers from all over the world to your doorstep. 

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What is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan created

You’ve got your business idea in place and a solid business plan built around it. There’s no reason you shouldn’t succeed. But your sales just aren’t where they need to be.

I know how you feel. You spent a lot of time building an effective business plan that took your marketing strategy heavily into account. So what went wrong?

You have to remember that when you created the marketing section of your business plan, you weren’t as experienced as you are now. You didn’t know exactly how the market was going to react.

You also didn’t have the pressures of a lot of people counting on you to make all the right decisions.

Well, you’re feeling that pressure now. And you’re not sure you have the right answers.

That means it’s time for a marketing plan.

A marketing plan created

What Is a Marketing Plan?

Stated simply, your marketing plan is a full roadmap that helps you introduce and deliver your products and services to consumers.

When I first started out learning about effective marketing plans, I thought they needed to be extremely long and insanely detailed. I figured it would be more of a resource suck than an added benefit.

I was completely wrong.

Effective marketing plans don’t need to be long. In fact, the more concise they are, the more impactful they can be.

But even if they don’t need to be long, they do require a good amount of research and effort. The work you put into a marketing plan right now will ensure the success of your business down the road.

Your marketing plan will help you understand and dissect the market you’re targeting and the competition you’re up against. It will help you understand how your decisions impact results while driving direction for your next initiatives.

Marketing plans vary based upon the industry you’re in, the type of products or services you offer and your business goals. But I’ll tell you personally that I’ve never seen an effective marketing plan that didn’t include the following key components.

Yours should too.

Summary and Brief Introduction

This section is a high-level overview of your marketing plan’s main points.

It needs to include a short synopsis of what you’ve already done, what your upcoming plans are and how you intend on getting there.

Situational Analysis

This area will detail the context of the efforts you make in marketing. Within it, you need to take a microscopic look at external and internal factors that influence your strategies and decision-making.

In my years of experience, I’ve seen a lot of businesses do a SWOT analysis. This analysis combines the internal and external analysis and summarizes the business’s weaknesses, strengths, threats and opportunities.

Objectives

What is a marketing plan without talking about objectives?

The objectives of your marketing plan will be set in order to support the goals and strategy of the business as a whole. For you to reach an alignment between your business goals and your marketing goals, it’s important that you’re clear on what your business objectives are.

What particular aspects of your business objectives can your marketing plan directly impact?

To put it another way, if your business objective is to reach $10 million in sales by the end of the year, how can your marketing plan help accomplish it?

Goals for Marketing

The goals that you set will, of course, directly tie into your business objectives as a whole. But these goals will only focus on business segments that marketing has the ability to influence.

For example, your company objective might be to increase repeat business revenue by 25% by mid-year. Your marketing-related goal could be to implement a customer rewards program that gives repeat buyers added incentives to come back to you.

Your Target Market

This is one of the most basic parts of an effective marketing plan. However, I’ve seen more than I care to admit that didn’t include target market details and strategies.

A smart business person knows that you can’t market your products or services to everyone. The market is too large and you probably won’t get heard. This makes it important to properly identify who your ideal customer is.

What does your target customer enjoy? What do they dislike? How old are they? Are they married or single?

Most importantly, where can they be found?

Before you can begin marketing, you need to get as specific with your target market as you possibly can. Then you need to segment it down further into even smaller groups for specific promotions you plan on running.

The better you understand your target market, the smarter you’ll be with allocating resources and crafting messages that resonate.

Marketing Strategies

Don’t get bogged down by the scope of the word “strategy.” It doesn’t need to be difficult.

Think of a marketing strategy as an approach you can take to achieve the goals you’ve set. Let’s say you’re attempting to sign up 10,000 new customers for your customer rewards program next month. Your specific strategy could be to introduce customers to the program with email invites that are personalized to highlight the rewards each individual would be interested in.

When you understand your target market, you’re marketing strategies become much more obvious.

looking at analytics of a marketing plan

Marketing Tactics

Your tactics are the actions you plan on taking to achieve your marketing strategies.

Let’s take another look at our rewards program and how it relates to setting your marketing tactics.

You decided to introduce your rewards program with personalized email invites to your list. One tactic you could implement would be to make sure every email has a customer name and one high-detailed reward that’s customized based upon their buying habits.

You would then include a short link to a sign-up form to get involved in the rewards program.

Just like that, you’ve set two individual marketing tactics that you’ll need to act on when the time comes.

Guidelines for Messaging

Bad messaging will reflect poorly on your business. Well-crafted, insightful messaging will help establish you as a leader in your market.

In fact, it’ll help you stand out from your competitors, reach a receptive audience and demonstrate the value of your business to consumers.

In your marketing plan, it’s important to set general guidelines for business messaging. Then start using them to craft messages that are more specific and targeted for individual campaigns and target market segments.

Set a Budget

How much can your business afford to spend on your marketing campaigns? More importantly, how much can you afford NOT to spend? It’s virtually impossible to grow your business without a healthy investment in marketing.

Evaluation and Tracking

This is the section of a marketing plan that needs to include procedures and plans for tracking every marketing activity you engage in.

Proper tracking allows you to monitor how effective each planned and executed activity is. Without measuring and tracking all of your efforts, you’ll never know which ones were successful or why.

Evaluating and tracking your efforts help you learn, adjust and make better decisions on the fly.

It’s Time to Get Started on Your Marketing Plan

Don’t waste another day trying to market your products and services without a solid marketing plan in place. I’ve seen too many businesses waste too many resources operating this way.

If you feel stuck on creating your own marketing plan, talk to the experts at Content Journey. We’ll provide you with a full marketing audit, then turn around a full marketing plan for your business within two weeks.

Putting your new marketing plan into action will be just what your business needed.

What is Inbound Marketing?

What is inbound marketing

In today’s world, more and more business owners are becoming cognizant of the fact that online marketing is now an effective way to sell products, build a base of loyal customers, and make brand ambassadorship a real thing. If you’ve recently become aware of the role that digital advertising can play in building your company yet lack knowledge regarding which specific strategies you should be implementing to engender real results, this is the article for you. Read on to learn about why inbound content marketing can be the best thing that ever happened to your business:

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound content marketing is an advertising method that attracts customers and leads to conversion through the creation of valuable content and meaningful experiences that speak to the specific needs and preferences of your unique target market. This form of advertising involves developing a relationship with the customer that entails her or him receiving ongoing support and help with the brand products and services. This advertising modality can include the use of multiple channels in tandem and will attract both existing customers and prospects to your business website. The reason that this form of marketing is so powerful results from the fact that it is founded on the idea that attracting customers with information that is helpful and highly personal works better than merely interrupting them with irrelevant, generic ads.

What is inbound marketing

Why Inbound Marketing Rather That Outbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is distinct from traditional methodologies which are referred to as outbound marketing strategies. Outbound marketing is an advertising process which involves techniques such as internal cold calling, seminars, and trade shows. The problem with outbound marketing is that it involves the advertiser or business owner pushing her or his message out far and wide with the hopes of a few people receiving the message and acting on it. Outbound marketing is designed to reach a wide audience, meaning that it doesn’t target the specific individuals who are more likely to be interested in purchasing the products or services you have to offer. Another issue with outbound marketing is that it interrupts individuals with information that they don’t want, meaning that these people may develop a negative disposition towards your brand.

What Does Inbound Marketing Include?

There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to do inbound marketing, and the strategies that a company uses will need to be highly specific and innovative to generate optimized conversion rates. However, it’s important to note that there are several general tips that business owners and advertisers can implement to create a skeletal plan for the inbound marketing process. Here are a few of them:

Make Content Optimization A Must

The key to effective inbound marketing is consistently producing incredible content. There are multiple forms of content that you may want to integrate into your advertising campaign, and some of them include blog posts, web articles, and videos. Make sure that each piece of content you create provides value to your readers and/or viewers. This means that you’re not simply bombarding your audience with facts or superfluous information. Rather, you’re offering them data that is directly relevant to their lives.

There are several strategies you can use to optimize the quality and impact of your content. For example, you can provide your audience with information regarding the benefits of drinking green tea if you run an herbal drink company. And if you run a wellness organization, you might produce blog posts or web articles outlining the distinct benefits of yoga and meditation. Note that being able to consistently solve a problem or enhance the audience’s quality of life while detailing how your brand can do either of these things makes the difference between an average and excellent inbound marketing campaign.

In addition to ensuring that your content is somehow useful, focus on utilizing strategies through which the posts, articles, and/or videos become the medium through which you build community. People are by nature tribal, meaning that they love to form relationships with like-minded individuals in environments where they feel safe, loved, and fulfilled on emotional, physical, and intellectual levels. With these realities in mind, make your content advertising efforts a vehicle through which other individuals can connect with you and other customers who enjoy the products and services that you offer.

One great way to realize this objective is by creating a discussion board that customers and prospects can access through your website. Post content that involves a brand-related question and allow your site visitors to answer it and discuss the issue amongst themselves. Poll-style content is also a great way to build community around your brand because it enables your audience to see whether they agree about things like which flavor of your coffee product tastes best or how subscribing to your e-newsletter has enabled them to save money and get insider information regarding upcoming sales.

Incorporate SEO Strategies Into Your Plan

In addition to focusing on cultivating compelling, creative content that builds community and solves problems, tap into the power of utilizing innovative, individualized SEO strategies to make your inbound marketing process more effective. SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization, and this process involves utilizing specific techniques to ensure that your content attains page 1 ranking on the search engine results pages of major engines like Yahoo, Google, and Bing. There are many SEO techniques that you can use to generate this result, and some of them include keyword research and link building. In many if not most cases, it’s important to hire a team of SEO professionals to do this work on your behalf.

Use Delighting Strategies

Marketing mavens use the phrase “delighting strategies” to refer to inbound techniques that keep customers satisfied, happy, and supported weeks, months, and years after they make their initial purchase. These techniques involve your employees (such as customer service representatives) providing buyers with expert advice which ensures that they can continue getting the most out of all the services and products you offer. An example of a delighting strategy would be using chatbots through which customers can gain immediate, digital assistance that enables them to attain support while putting together a new product of yours that just arrived in the mail.

Another “delighting strategy” would be creating satisfaction surveys that you send out three months after a customer orders your product. After this period of time, the customer should be able to provide you with detailed feedback regarding the quality and efficacy of the product they used. By carefully reviewing this data, you can continually enhance, update, and optimize the products you offer to ensure maximum client satisfaction.

Don’t Delay: Start Optimizing Your Online Presence Today!

If you’re serious about making your company as successful and savvy as possible, know that tapping into the power of inbound marketing is not just important. It is imperative. To truly attain excellent results with this mode of marketing, you need a team of trained, tenacious advertising experts working on your behalf. These marketing professionals specialize in putting together customized content plans that will attract audiences, generate conversion, and encourage brand loyalty. The techies of the team are skilled in utilizing keyword research techniques, content creation, and lead magnets to ensure optimal results. Additionally, they maintain a customer-oriented approach to ensure that the business owner’s needs are recognized and responded to. Connect with the passionate professionals at Content Journey now to get your organization on the road to profound, perpetual growth soon!