How to Develop a B2B Sales Funnel

The B2B sales process is the lifeblood of your business. If you’re a B2B, no sales mean no revenue. Without revenue, how are you supposed to keep the ship afloat? The B2B sales funnel is defined a million different ways by as many people. In short, it’s the set of strategies and processes used to shuttle leads from the beginning of the sales process through closing the deal (and beyond). Further adding to the mix are sales pipeline stages. Some sources use the terms sales pipeline stages and B2B sales funnel interchangeably, but there is a difference. Where a B2B sales funnel is a visualization the stages of the buyer’s experience, the sales pipeline stages represent the steps taken by the seller during the sales cycle. The two are similar and work together but maintain a few distinguishable differences.

For simplicity, we’ll begin with an examination of the B2B sales process. How do you develop your B2B sales funnel? What are the steps in the process?

What Is a B2B Sales Process?

The B2B Sales Process isn’t the same today as it used to be. With changes in how people and businesses communicate, of course, change was inevitable. But what is it, in the first place? As previously mentioned, the B2B sales process, or B2B sales funnel, is a set of strategies implemented to move a lead through to the final close of a deal. This will include lead nurturing, contact, and negotiations. A further step, often overlooked, is following up after the purchase is made. This can use in both keeping a customer as well as presenting the opportunity to make further sales more easily. With only 25% of businesses reporting being happy with their conversion rates, the importance of your sales funnel can’t be overstated.

The B2B purchase funnel, as it’s also known, isn’t a one-size-fits-all checklist. There are as many different ways to build a B2B purchase funnel as there are businesses to use them! Each will be unique so optimizing your funnel for your products or services is crucial.

B2B Sales Funnel Stages

It’s referred to as a funnel because it’s a visualization of the progression of leads converting to being paying customers. The idea is that you’ll have more leads at the beginning of the process, who will narrow themselves down in number along the way. We break down the B2B purchase funnel into seven phases. These are:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Evaluation
  • Decision
  • Purchase
  • Reevaluation
  • Repurchase

Awareness

This is when a potential customer becomes aware of your company and product. Without awareness, they don’t know you exist to help them! For this, you need to pursue lead generation. This can be accomplished through ad campaigns, SEO practices to improve organic search, etc.

Interest

This is when it’s on your business to begin fostering a relationship and building trust. In the interest stage, a lead has begun doing research into your products or services to gain more knowledge about them. Clear, relevant communication is always key to lead nurturing.

Evaluation

During the evaluation stage of the B2B purchase funnel, your potential lead has warmed to your business. They haven’t committed yet, however. At this stage, drip campaigns are exceptionally beneficial. Things like free trials and targeted content for their needs can help lead them further down the funnel. Resist any urge to bombard them with useless material but, as always, relevant communication is essential. Nurturing your lead is paramount as they’ve likely narrowed their choices down to a very select few.

Decision

True to its name, in the decision phase of the B2B sales process the customer has committed to your product or service. They’ve made the choice that what you provide will serve them best. In a B2B purchase funnel, this stage will likely include negotiations. Proposals will be created, rates will be negotiated, and the final details determined.

Purchase

Purchasing in a B2C funnel may be a one-time sale of a product. In a B2B purchase funnel, the purchase stage may be a one-time product sale or include signing a contract for ongoing services. Both of these types of purchases in the B2B sales process lead to further opportunities for your business. Where many go wrong is thinking that the purchase is the end and final touchpoint. Sure, a purchase may fulfill the sales pipeline stages for that service with that customer, but wouldn’t you prefer repeat customers? Wouldn’t you prefer warm leads via referrals or opportunities to sell further services to your already-converted customer?

Reevaluation

The reevaluation process is where the customer will decide whether your product or service is worth their reinvestment. At this phase, your B2B customers are examining contracts up for renewal. Have they seen the benefit you were hired to provide? Has their experience been positive? This is why communication is key throughout the entire B2B sales process even beyond the purchase stage. Clients are more likely to have a positive experience if they haven’t felt like you’ve dropped them the moment you got what you wanted. In addition to their comfort, communication allows you to upsell further services if they will also fit your client’s needs. How will they know what else you can do unless you follow up and express it to them?

Repurchase

The last stage of our B2B sales funnel is the repurchasing stage. Also clearly denoted by the name, repurchasing is when a customer comes back to your business to repurchase a product or service. It can also be a customer coming to purchase new services. In an ideal situation, not only can you renew your previous contract but add to it. This is a testament to your work and benefits both sides.

Developing a B2B sales funnel sounds very clinical, but in reality, it’s very logical. Break down how long each stage is expected to take in your sales cycle to make the process easy. Make sure you’re clearly solving a problem or filling a need, and articulate that through the process. To sell a service, you need to make a connection with your lead. They have to become aware of their need and see how you can provide it. Most importantly, they have to trust your business.

Brenton Way can help you generate leads and build a sales funnel that converts. Contact us to learn more about how we can work together!

 

What are the Best Techniques to Improve Conversion Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization is the neverending battle your business takes part in online. Increasing your conversion rate radically increases your business, so its importance can’t be overstated. The fact is only roughly 22% of businesses report being satisfied with their current conversion rates. For being so important, it is also one of the most abstract factors in marketing. There is no “one size fits all” checklist you can go down and, magically, your website conversion optimization process is complete.

Website conversion optimization is the long game. You may see an increase in conversions from slight adjustments here and there, but that’s a short-sighted strategy and will peak quickly. Conversion rate optimization begins with hypothesizing what will increase your conversions and testing to see what performs best. There’s a large factor of really getting into your audience’s head and considering what will influence their decisions most.

What can you do to present solutions to their problems?

Have you been trying to increase your website conversion optimization but just aren’t seeing the results you want? Not seeing the results you were expecting? It’s not about casting a wide net to catch everyone at once. Conversion optimization is most effective at a highly focused level. The famous saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” comes into reality here in a big way. If you’re trying to speak to everyone at once, you’re not talking to anyone in particular.

Since 90% of searchers are undecided about brands before beginning their searches, it’s important to connect meaningfully. That could be through compelling content, specific landing pages, or any number of ways that show you have what they need. One factor to consider? Sometimes they don’t know they needed something until you show them!

We’ll cover some of the best tactics for conversion optimization further on in this post. First, however, let’s examine why conversion optimization services are necessary for your business and what it is.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

You’ve heard the term “conversion rate optimization” before but do you really know what it is? Conversion rate optimization, often shortened to CRO, is the process of increasing the percentage of website traffic who complete desired actions. If you’re an ecommerce site, this doesn’t just mean completing the sale, however. That’s where confusion often lies. Business owners fail to see that conversions can happen at any stage in the funnel. A conversion may also be something such as opting in to an email list, downloading your ebook, or creating an account.

CRO and SEO

Conversion rate optimization is not one-note. Though not directly associated, CRO and SEO can intersect in various ways. Some argue they play against each other however, with careful adjustments and techniques, they should not.

In terms of A/B testing, this won’t lead to penalizations for duplicate content when properly implemented. When in doubt, add a canonical tag. Instead of 301 redirects, use 302s. A/B testing is encouraged. Knowing which page will better serve website visitors is ultimately better for rankings. After all, it’s all about creating a better UX for visitors to increase conversions in the end, isn’t it?

Why is Conversion Rate Optimization Important?

This may sound like a small victory but consider this: if your conversion rate optimization increases sales conversions from 1% to 2%, you’ve doubled your business. The same holds for increased leads and other factors. Some conversion optimization services promise outlandish percentages but don’t be fooled. The global average for e-commerce conversion is between 1% and 3%.

By its nature, website conversion optimization builds your relationship with your website visitors. This not only increases conversions now but also develops the ongoing relationship for later. Customers are what make your business successful. Without them, you don’t have one!

In 2016, Econsultancy stated that for every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 was spent trying to convert them. Why so low when its effects are so important? According to MarketingSherpa, 74% of conversion rate optimization programs will increase sales. The increased amount and continuing increases rely heavily on continued efforts of website conversion optimization.

What Should I Do for CRO?

So you’ve got it: conversion rate optimization is important. What should you do now? The motto when it comes to conversion optimization services is typically “test, test, and retest.” When you think you’ve tested enough, test something else. There is no end to conversion optimization. You don’t reach a goal and say “okay, I made it. I’m done.” Knowing where to begin, however, can be daunting for those new to conversion optimization. Have no fear! We’re here to present some of the best methods for website conversion optimization that will get you on the path to increased conversions.

Present Clear Value Proposition

 

 

Conversion rate optimization hinges on increasing conversions from website visitors. How do you expect to increase conversions if your visitor doesn’t know what you offer? More specifically for CRO, you need to show your customer what you offer that they need. This can be a product that they want, a solution to a problem they have, or any number of things. All the conversion optimization services in the world are useless if you aren’t presenting your value.

Add testimonials to give validity to your value propositions. Use your value props to sell solutions. Your product or service comes with awesome features but… why do they matter? What do they solve for the customer? How does it benefit them if they convert?

A/B Testing on Your Website

As we said before, the name of the game in conversion rate optimization is test, test, and retest. Never settle for “good enough” when there are always ways to improve. That being said, you don’t need to change your site every other day without cause. Focus on your primary pain points and A/B test solutions. Try variations of landing pages to see what converts the most then focus your efforts there. One test at a time isn’t the way to go; test out variations on all your landing pages. This puts you ahead of the competition as only 52% of companies and agencies that use landing pages also test them to find ways to improve conversions.

Of these, 44% are using software to split test. Be sure, however, that you’re only indexing necessary pages and not competing with your SEO in a negative way.

When testing, don’t just throw up any variation you can think of. Always make a decisive, specific plan with a goal in mind. Testing without a clearly-defined goal is shooting in the dark. How can you expect to empirically determine what works best when you don’t know what you’re testing?

Increase Number of Landing Pages

A recurring issue amongst websites is a lack of landing pages. More landing pages equal more conversion opportunities, and also adds to the variation on your website. As previously mentioned, if you try to speak to everyone, you’re speaking to no one in particular. This is visible with your landing pages. Having too much information or irrelevant information will lead to a higher bounce rate. In fact, companies have seen a 55% increase in leads after increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15. That’s substantial! Speaking of landing pages:

Streamline Your Landing Page

Streamlining your landing page cannot be overstressed. Ensure you’re providing relevant information for your website visitor but keep to the topic. Each landing page should stand on its own. Take away distractions that may lead to loss of interest and a higher bounce rate. Consider leading directly to services instead of categories. For an e-commerce site, consider bypassing a cart and sending them directly to check out instead.

If your visitor is coming to your page, don’t make them work for what they’re looking for because chances are they won’t. Offer them exactly what they’ve searched for immediately. Give them the incentive to convert right away. Keeping relevance also provides further incentive to explore your site further. After all, if the page they landed on was direct and clear, it stands to reason other pages would be, too. This will lead to a lower bounce rate.

To help keep your landing page simple, give only one offer on each page. Multiple offers on one landing page become overwhelming and very sales-y. You want your landing page to feel personalized. The usage of the video has become exceptionally successful. Using videos on landing pages has reported increased conversions by 80% or more.

Create Content That Converts

Creating engaging, dynamic content is a prime way to improve conversion rate optimization efforts. We all know the phrase “content is king” but underestimating the significance of that statement will cut your CRO efforts off before they get started. Having a simple list of products for sale or a bullet point of services won’t create the conversions you are hoping for.

Creating awesome content that converts is essential! This could be a video you’ve placed on landing pages, an informative blog to help guide your target through the sales funnel, etc. Great content gives your website authority and builds trust with visitors. No one is going to purchase goods or services from someone they don’t trust. That trust has to be built. Since conversions can be any goal along the funnel, don’t neglect conversions higher up. Repeat visitors are more likely to reach your ultimate conversion (or macro-conversion).

Overall, conversion rate optimization is the key to build and scale your business. Remembering to capture conversions throughout the entire sales funnel is paramount. You can use streamlined landing pages, visuals, converting content, and optimized copy to give visitors a personalized feel. Truly, there is no easy checklist conversion optimization services use to fix everything. It takes testing, relying on data, and experimenting to get the results you seek. Always begin with a clear goal in mind for each conversion you seek.

Unclear goals result in a waste of time, money, and effort.

As always, Brenton Way is here to help you with our conversion optimization services! Contact us and let’s discuss how we can improve your CRO and grow your business.

How to Generate More Leads with Email Marketing?

Marketing through email has stood the test of time and the constant evolution of digital marketing to prove itself invaluable. Email marketing leads are more important today than ever. Email allows you to reach out and make a personal connection to your audience, creating the opportunity for more conversions. Building and nurturing relationships between potential customers and your brand through lead generation is essential to the success of your business.

Wondering just how relevant marketing through email is? According to Statista, email spend for email advertising in the U.S. alone is expected to increase from $270 million in 2015 to $350 million by 2019. With the number of U.S. internet users who send at least one email per month expected to rise to 251.8 million people by 2019, the numbers speak for themselves. Your business can’t afford the opportunity cost of not pursuing email marketing leads.

It’s been shown that people who buy products marketed via email spend an average of 138% more than those who received no email offers. With people on the go, a whopping 56% of email is now opened on a mobile device. Given there are an estimated 281 billion business and consumer emails sent and received every day, that number is staggering. It also means your email lead generation efforts need to stand out. They can’t just be cookie-cutter blasts that inevitably end up in the trash folder (or worse, never make it past the spam folder).

Simply put, your competition is using email lead generation. Why aren’t you? If you are, let’s show you how to generate even more email marketing leads.

What Are Email Marketing Leads?

First, we’ve been throwing around the term email marketing leads a lot, but what is that? A lead is a potential customer who has expressed interest in your product or service by taking an action. This sounds very clinical so let’s put it in more plain terms. A lead is someone who has already interacted with your brand purposefully and is, therefore, more likely to convert.

This interaction might’ve been via an email opt-in (hence, email lead generation) or another source. Email marketing leads are one of the most direct paths to connect with potential customers. You are given a direct link to them. That being said, there are numerous ways to lose members on your email list, so getting their information is not the end of the work. In order to convert those leads into sales, you have to nurture the relationship. Freebie content via drip campaigns, automated opt-in responses (personalized, of course), and consistent communication are key elements of email lead generation. After all, what’s the point in generating the lead if you aren’t going to do anything with it? To help with these, there are tons of lead generation tools available at your disposal.

In order to successfully generate these email marketing leads, you need a strategy.

Importance of an Email Lead Generation Strategy

Email marketing leads don’t magically appear! Are your efforts failing to result in more email lead generation? Then you may need to reexamine your strategy. This strategy needs to be targeted and specific. Understand what you want the specific end result of this particular campaign to be and center on that; not every email needs to be all-encompassing. Too much information becomes overwhelming or, frankly, boring. Your potential leads aren’t going to finish reading your novel of an email and you’ll have wasted time, money, and effort.

Important strategy elements include consistent communication, providing engaging content, and always incorporating a call to action. Consistent communication will keep your business at the forefront of their mind. Don’t go overboard, though. A barrage of emails is a major turnoff to most consumers. When you send content to your contacts, make it purposeful (more on that later). Keeping your content engaging goes along with this. Make your communication something leads will look forward to and want to interact with!

Tips for Successful Email Marketing Campaigns

So you’re ready to generate more email marketing leads now, right? Great! We’ll dive in and provide excellent tips on how to generate more email marketing leads through successful campaigns.

To optimize your marketing through email, there are specific actions you can take. Some of these may come across as purely logical, but too many poorly-constructed emails are sent daily. Follow these guidelines and the effort you put in with marketing through email should increase your business. After all, you want to be part of the group seeing an average ROI of $38 for every $1 spend on email marketing, right?

Where in the Funnel is Your Lead?

When you’re marketing through email, it’s important to know where your lead is in the sales funnel. Are they just starting out? Are they set to purchase? Optimizing your content for where they are in the process is the best way to present yourself. This will position you exactly where they are without being too pushy or making them uncomfortable. You will lead them down the funnel to your product or service. This can also result in new leads from satisfied customers. Never underestimate the value of word of mouth or the forward button on an email!

Avoid the “No Reply” Email Address

In accordance with the CAN-SPAM legislation, companies are not to use “no reply” in the sender name of their emails. Why? This violates the recipient’s ability to opt out of future emails. That being said, however, why would you want to use “no reply” anyway? Sending an email from a “no reply” sender is the quickest way to ensure your email is never opened and immediately trashed. For someone working for email marketing leads, this is a bad tactic! Send even your automated emails from an email with a name. Leads are much more likely to open an email they believe is created and sent by a human than something clearly automated.

Concise, Relevant Subject Line

Starting at the top of your email, don’t underestimate the value of the subject line! How are you planning to generate more leads with email marketing if those leads don’t know what they’re being sent? Your subject lines should be clear, short, and direct. The recipient should know what to generally expect when they open your email just from the subject line. Don’t come across too gimmicky or spammy. Consider, also, that way your audience is primarily viewing their emails! Shorter subject lines may benefit those with audiences who mainly check email via mobile devices. This little line holds a lot of weight, doesn’t it? Don’t underestimate its potential!

Get to the Point

This is plain and simple: get to the point. If you’re simply sending out dry, boring content, who wants to read it? Consider this: you’re only as memorable as your last email. If your email marketing leads are being bored to tears, your conversion rate will suffer. Furthermore, you’ll likely see an increase in people unsubscribing to your email list. You worked hard for those contacts, keep them! Write clear, concise emails. There’s no need for a novel. You can always send out more emails later! Your content should be purposeful and direct, but don’t forget to make it simultaneously personable.

Be Personable

Being personable here is two-fold. First, when you create your emails they should read like information from a friend. They should be addressed to their name, not a generic “hello friend” or any variation of that. Coming across as cold, indifferent, or just hungry for a sale is a turnoff. You won’t generate further leads by being a vulture. Consumers smell the desperation from a mile away. There are endless ways to automate emails to include forms of personalization. One example is using their name in the salutation. Yes, people know things are automated but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate the effort being made nonetheless. If you feel a personal connection to a brand, you’re more likely to consider it and more likely to convert. That’s the end goal, isn’t it? Triggered emails also provide personalization, in a sense, but more on that shortly.

The second meaning of being personable here is making sure your targets are receiving emails relevant to them. You won’t generate email marketing leads if you’re sending out irrelevant content. Make sure your target is categorized correctly in the proper email chain. This is even more important in the beginning stages of the relationship. Once you’ve built a relationship, one slip up may go overlooked. At the beginning, however, it’s a deal breaker for some.

Triggered Emails

Continuing with the notion of personalization in your marketing through email, we look at triggered emails. These are emails triggered by specific actions taken by your target. You can create great opportunities for lead generation this way. Consider triggered emails at various stages of your target’s website visit. You can have these set for signing up for your newsletter, buying a product, signing up for blog updates, etc. There’s no limit to the number of ways you can capitalize on opportunities with specific leads. It could be this personalized email marketing technique that converts your new lead!

Include a Call to Action

Our last tactic for successful email lead generation is to always include a call to action or CTA. This CTA should be clear and measurable. Examples of a CTA are Buy Now, Get Started, and Download Now. Your CTA will vary depending on what you’re offering in your email and what the purpose of your email is. The engagement from this call to action is part of the interaction between your brand and your lead. Always ensure to use your brand’s voice and tone. It’s a relationship, not a commercial.

There are a million ways to use email marketing to generate more leads. You can personalize every aspect to your potential customers. The more personalization, the better. If you’re not seeing the results you want, reexamine your efforts and make sure you’re following these guidelines. Optimize your communication for the results you want. Email marketing leads are important and vital to the success of your business. The effort put into email marketing will pay off. Don’t be left behind wondering what else you might’ve done for the success of your business. Which of these changes do you need to implement most?

At Brenton Way, we’re here to help you generate leads and implement an email marketing strategy that will help your business grow.

 

 

 

Heart Stopping Methods for Content Engagement

What makes your heart beat skip? What gets you excited when you’re surfing the web? Do you fall prey to targeted advertising, or do you like to randomly explore the web for content?

This week, nearing our one year anniversary, the team at Brenton Way thought we would put together a list of 15 types of content engagement methods we love and why! We wanted to provide our readers – you guys! -with something fun and engaging to push through winter and get us to spring!

Blogging

Every writer has to start somewhere, and blogging is our favorite platform to suggest to first-timers. A blog can be customized and tailored to you and a client. It can embody a brand, a lifestyle, an agenda, a philosophy, or simply images. A blog holds the key to your brand guideline and for who you want to be as a writer. But, the best part is that a blog can also change, and you with it. A blog also takes time to create traffic; patience is key!

You want to make sure that when you write a blog, it is SEO friendly. Personal and private blogging aside, A blog can increase awareness for your product by getting you closer to being ranked on google, and gain viewership on multiple platforms through link sharing. You also want to make sure your blog is current with themes and subjects or else no one will read it.

When working in such a fast-paced and ever-changing environment such as digital marketing, you have to continually reevaluate yourself and your team. Asking yourself if there’s a negative to things like blogging is essential.

Blogging itself would not have a bad effect on your work, however, a blog could destroy your credibility if done wrong. Any errors in grammar and content will drag your name down, as well as your rankings. A lot of times we come across blogs that haven’t been updated in weeks or months, this is one of the fatal flaws of having such an accessible platform. People might lose interest in their blogs and move onto creating new ones. They fail to realize, blogs are allowed to change!

Book Reviews

Short, fun, and thoughtful – a book review can sell and be creative. An older form of content, book reviews have survived the test of time by bringing with them the power that audiences genuinely have. If a book has no reviews, would you read it? Probably not. If a book has a good or bad review, people are going to change their impressions and thoughts before reading it.

Reviews are concise and summarize the material. We work with a lot of clients who are authors, and getting their books reviewed is a great way to create local traffic and buzz. However, a book review is supposed to be critical, you don’t want to write:

  I liked the book.

        The book was good.

        The bok sucked.

Those are reactions, and they don’t increase engagement, they shut it down. You want to expose what makes the work new, exciting, noteworthy, and enjoyable. How does this work expand your knowledge of this subject area and will the audience appreciate it?

Case Studies

We make cases studies every season to reevaluate ourselves and show our clients that we are paying attention. Getting more clients is great, but understanding how you actually helped or failed a client is vital to strive. Content is not always about SEO or selling; you’ll need to do a lot of self-branding in order to create a credible name for your team and your business. A case study represents your work ethic and your client’s impressions of you.

When you begin a case study, you’ll want to write about someone that your “ideal customer” will relate to. We also want to encourage writers to include their journey with each case from beginning to end because leaving out important details will cause readers to question the reliability of the case.

Although a case study is realistic and informative, you should not forget to format it for better readership. You have a chance to expose your greatness, and using a dull format will destroy it. Be sure to also mention the types of strategies and methods your team used in this case to make it about your success, not about the client.

Ebooks

Depending on what platforms and tools you have access to an ebook can be a great decision for your business. We recycle and repurpose all of our content seasonally – turning old stories into relevant ebooks.  An ebook can be short or long; it can have visual graphics or be primarily copy, as long as your content is relevant and emphasizes your value proposition, then you are in the clear!

In marketing, you have to always try and find an angle for your work, an ebook is perfect for this. Include a sign-up incentive with your ebook,

“Sign up with us and get a free ebook!”

You also want to expose your expertise on the subject of your ebook; why waste the opportunity to be a figure of authority in the community?

How-to

How to write a how-to; bullets and simplicity is the key! How-tos are a fun way to let your team relax and write content that is based more on instruction rather than entertainment – unless you work at Buzzfeed.

A how-to, like a guide, walks readers through an exercise or practice, but it does so with simple instructions and often uses images as instructions. You can use videos as well – more on that later. How-tos are informal but descriptive. They also need to be specific and written to help someone with no expertise on a subject – keep that in mind when debating on your target audience.

“How to Clean Your Desk”

Infographics

Not to pick favorites, but we love infographics. A fresh, exciting and easy way to get engagement for your clients and readers alike. With all the amazing digital tools and software these days, an infographic can be made simply and with little effort – not to steal jobs from graphic designers, but content collaboration among departments is gaining popularity.

Keep in mind, the perfect infographic takes advantage of visuals and copy; you want to be informative, and entertaining. We also like to promote patterns or a consistent flow in order to have the content smooth organically from beginning to end. The main idea needs to be expressed right off the bat, simply, then you can share examples, and relevant statistics.

The most important thing to remember about infographics is to use power words. You’re going to need the bold font, and words which have deep meaning to stand out among the other infographics.

Interview

Our CEO does interviews every season to show that we are current and dedicated to the local community. More than a quora posting, an interview gives listeners or readers insight to the person beyond the curtain.

Interviews are simple: do research, have a clear objective, and always lead to a question that will start a striking conversation. You want the person to be comfortable to open up to you, not feel attacked or on trial. Questions that make a person reflect on their past experiences are perfect, and always take audio or physical notes.

Lists

Lists, like this one, serve a strong purpose in giving readers a surface level understanding of a complicated concept. Research is hard enough with all the information floating around the web. It takes time no one has enough of, to discover any real information about things. It can be tedious and hard to sift through real reviews and real case studies to discover the types of software or clients you want – a list can help you with that.

Examples:

Ten Best IT Consulting Firms in Los Angeles

15 Ways to Change Your Lifestyle With SEO Marketing

Longform

Longform content is longer content – easy enough to remeber, right?. We consider longform content to exceed 2000 words, regardless of what others out there think. The longer a content piece is, the more SEO rankings you’ll have the opportunity to get. This tactic increases user engagement, internal linking, backlinking, reference opportunities, and room to develop your thoughts and ideas.

In all sense of the matter, longform content is long – it keeps readers on the page for more time. This gives you the best opportunity to generate leads with sign-ups and linking.

Some pointers for writing longform content; make sure you are appealing to more than one target audience to gain access to more sharing communities. You have a lot to say, make sure you build yourself a big enough room to talk about it all; don’t constrict yourself with titles that are close-minded.

Meme

A meme has its appropriate spot in the limelight, and it exists in more light-hearted posts. However, the days of censorship and boring marketing tactics are long gone. We encourage connecting with users and target audiences by what they already appreciate. A good meme goes a long way.

So how exactly can you use a meme for marketing? There are a few ways, grabbing attention from readers is probably your biggest goal. A meme is an instant a recognizable tool that can boost engagement. We would suggest taking advantage of memes as a way to generate viral popularity for your brand. But, you can’t force it; if your content writer and graphic designer cannot come up with a natural meme without forcing it or losing originality, then don’t make them. Every brand uses content differently, and memes are high risk.

Podcast

We’ve done a few podcasts over our first year in business, and each time they got easier and more interesting. Entertainment value aside, products are a great all access method of sharing ideas and content.

Here is a link to one of our first podcasts, a little rough around the edges, but always good fun and material!

We created the process through some simple steps; first, we narrowed down to one topic. Then we made sure to have the right equipment set up. You don’t need to get fancy when making a podcast, but, you’ll need good audio equipment to stand out. Afterwards, edit your work and get it up there! PRomote podcasts everywhere since anyone can have access to them.

Product Reviews

product review can seem simple, but it’s a great way to get involved in the community around your client, product, or brand. Writing a review for someone else will show your willingness to join in on a community instead of being highly competitive. It’s also a great way to get others to promote you for free!

Depending on if you are the product promoter or the product reviewer always make sure you research the product. We’ve all read reviews of a product that was clearly ignorant of the actual details or selling points, and that’s just embarrassing. It seems pretty obvious, but be sure that if you’re reviewing a product, that you’ve actually tried the product. And, in a similar sense, if you’re asking someone to review your product, be sure to send them actual samples.

Research

The all feared research project has haunted most people since childhood. Coming from the foundation of academia, research is well thought out, refined, built with a strong foundation, and can outlast most other content. It takes time, patience, and practice to create and is often hard to promote all its efforts.

A well-researched piece of content should take no less than two weeks, even if you could write all day, you want to be sure your work is well planned out.

Two shorter versions of content are listed below. These are great for those who want to focus on graphics over copy.

Templates & Checklist Downloads

When in doubt, make a checklist! They are fun, easy, and engaging! We like to use these pieces of content in between research and skyscrapers to help our audience get comfortable. They are also a great way to give your clients answers fast and reliably. When you build a checklist, you give the reader options, and ask them for feedback naturally, helping to build the content together. It’s also a great way to make a pdf download for anyone looking for templates and checklists in your brand field.

Video

Recently, video content has become a necessity for platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Videos help to increase engagement and allows for viewers to watch multiple clips in short periods of time, without feeling as though they have over-consumed content.

The truth is, all these methods could be used interchangeably because they all have great results. What matters most is consistency, patience, and practice. Don’t stop working on a blog just because your traffic has stayed the same – it takes time!

If content really does scare you, seem daunting, or seems boring, just contact someone who can help. Brenton Way is active on TwitterFacebook, and out team members are always ready to answer questions on LinkedIn, and Instagram.

How to Kickstart Your SEO and Lead Generation in 2018

In this post, we will discuss emerging trends in SEO and Lead Generation that can be used to improve your rankings and generate new leads for your business. The second half of the post will examine how good SEO can power your lead generation strategy and deliver highly targeted organic traffic to your business.  

Search Engine Optimization is in a state of perpetual change, and staying on top of it can be challenging for even the best of marketers.  Keeping informed of the latest trends will ensure that your website remains at the top of Google’s rankings for the long term.  There are a few critical areas to focus your SEO efforts on in 2018 – the quality of your content and user engagement being top amongst them.  

Search Engine Optimization

 

SEO encompasses a large number of tactics and methods that can be used to improve the ranking of your website and content in Google’s search results.  SEO methods and terminology have been around for years, yet they are constantly evolving.  Here are the areas to focus on in 2018.

 

Adopt a mobile first strategy

 

In 2018 optimizing your website for mobile visitors should be a top priority.  Mobile ready content is more important than ever before as more than 50% of internet traffic originates from mobile browsers.  If mobile visitors have a bad experience using your website they are unlikely to return, which makes it crucial that your content is optimized for mobile readers.  While you shouldn’t neglect the desktop version of your site, your mobile site is considered a key ranking factor by Google.  In fact, more searches are made from mobile devices than desktops during certain hours of the day, which has lead Google to prioritize the mobile browsing experience.  The takeaway from this is that if your mobile site omits important information or is poorly optimized, it will certainly harm your rankings.  

 

Enhancing your site with Accelerated Mobile Pages

 

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are a Google project launched in 2015 to improve the user experience of the mobile web.  Since its initial launch, the AMP Project has been widely adopted across millions of domains and reduced load times to less than half a second. Google doesn’t directly use AMP pages as a ranking factor, but AMP pages significantly improve the user experience and load time which increases user engagement.  Many websites use AMP pages as a landing page and then require the user to click through to the main website to continue reading the content. Splitting content like this results in a poor user experience and should be avoided. As of February 2018, Google will require AMP pages to have “close parity” to the content on the original website, putting an end to this practice.  AMP technology has a place in many SEO strategies as it sets your site apart as an industry leader, and enhances the visitor experience with reduced loading times.  

 

Optimize your site for voice search

 

Almost every smartphone sold these days allows the user to make searches using only their voice.  This trend is expected to continue, and by 2020 it’s expected that over half of all searches will be voice searches.  And it’s not only smartphones that are making voice searches; devices such as Amazon Echo, Google Assistant and Siri are becoming a part of everyday life.

 

To take advantage of voice searches, you need to modify your keyword strategy to account for the style of language people use when searching.  Consider the types of questions that people will ask and provide answers in an easily available format.  Adding a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section to your website can increase voice rankings dramatically if the FAQ’s match the typical phrasing that your visitors use.  Consider engaging with your customer support team to see what types of questions your customers are frequently asking and then develop content that will rank highly based off these results.

 

Recognize the importance of Featured Snippets

 

The featured snippets section is one of the most coveted positions on a search ranking page.  This is the answer box that appears at the top of the search results and provides an instant answer to many types of query.  Featured snippets provide a quick summary to a search query, and then allows the user to click through to the page for further information.  Only the top result for a search query will make it into this prized position and the top spot is often occupied by a Wikipedia article. However, you can often occupy this spot for your own website by answering queries in simple and easy to understand language.  This usually takes the form of a paragraph of content that summarizes a broad topic, but bullet points and data tables can also rank highly here.  Research the current results for a given query and see how your site could improve upon or summarize this answer into a brief soundbite.  Because featured snippets are usually read out by Siri or Google Assistant, they also play an important role in optimizing your site for voice search.  

 

Create exceptional content

 

The era of search engine spam and low-quality content is quickly fading.  If you want to rank highly in 2018 then it is truly a game of quality over quantity.  There is an absolute plethora of content written for every conceivable niche, meaning that users demand to be directed to the most authoritative content available.  This means knowing your topic inside and out and ensuring that you are producing content better than anything else available on the web.  The most recent Google algorithm updates evaluate the quality of content to ensure users are getting good answers to their queries.  This makes it imperative to understand who your target audience is and what type of questions they need answered.  

 

Focus on the User Experience

 

For Google to remain the dominant search engine, they must return high quality, user friendly results to their visitors.  This means your website must continue the great user experience that starts on Google to attract visitors.  In practical terms, it’s important that users spend as much time as possible on your website, and visit multiple pages before returning to Google to make another query.  Ensuring that your site has fast loading times and a low bounce rate helps your users navigate better, but also checks the boxes that Google uses in its ranking algorithms.  In terms of user engagement, you should place your most relevant content near the top of a post.  Users don’t want to scroll endlessly down a page to find the content they are looking for; often they will just return to Google if they don’t instantly see the content they searched for.  

 

Optimize for Machine Learning

 

Artificial Intelligence once belonged to the realm of science fiction, but Google’s new RankBrain AI is being used to help deliver search results.  RankBrain analyzes the intent behind a user’s search query to learn and adapt to new keywords over time and to constantly improve search results.  How does this apply to your own SEO efforts? It’s all about making your keywords specific to individual landing pages, and anticipating the keywords your users may search with in the future.

 

Constantly evaluate your keywords

 

Choosing the right keywords has always been at the core of good SEO strategy, but in 2018 its more important than ever to avoid “keyword stuffing”.  We mentioned that visitors are looking for exceptional-quality content, and forcing specific keywords into a piece of content usually breaks the flow and feels unnatural to the reader.  Google’s algorithm has moved well beyond exact keyword matching and will rank pages that have variations on keywords highly.  Content should be written for the user first and foremost, and keyword phrases only used where appropriate.  

 

Users are searching with longer, and more natural language queries which your keyword strategy should take into account.  It’s also important to develop content around an entire topic and then link it together to provide broad information about a topic.

 

Focus on quality in your link building

 

Links will always be an important piece of Google’s ranking algorithm, but the quality of links is more important than ever before. Linking from your website to external content endorses that content in the eyes of Google and reflects upon your brand image.   Put a lot of consideration into the sites you link to and evaluate your incoming links as well.  If low quality spam sites are linking to yours, you may incur a Google ranking penalty, so its important to be aware of your incoming links and manage them accordingly.  If you do have low quality incoming links, use the google “disavow” tool to prevent them from counting against your sites ranking.  

 

Lead Generation

SEO is only one piece of a broader lead generation strategy. To make sales, you need to have a constant stream of high-quality leads coming into your business. If you don’t have a source of incoming leads, it doesn’t matter how good your salespeople are at closing or how amazing your product is. In this section we’ll look at how generate leads in the B2B space and get your pitch in front of as many decision makers as possible.  

 

Talk to your prospects regularly

 

Content marketing such as your website, blog posts and videos are an important aspect of lead generation, but there is a glaring flaw with these mediums. The communication only goes one way.  It’s important that your prospects can chat with you so that you have opportunities to sell to them, and to hear their feedback on your product offerings.  Try to move the conversation off email and onto interactive mediums such as webinars or conference calls where it makes sense to do so.

 

Generate new leads through social media

 

The most challenging part of finding new leads through social media is reaching the right people.  Platforms such as Twitter operate on an enormous scale, which often makes it difficult to narrow down your audience using hashtags and keywords.  Tools such as CrowdFire can make it easier to get a bird’s eye view of your audience and to find influencers that would be a good fit for your brand.  Once you find potential leads via social media, it’s often a long process to engage with them and build up the rapport necessary before moving into the sales process.

 

One awesome tool that is free you can use righ now is called Twazzup. It allows you to start finding people who are talking about relevant posts based on specific topics or keywords that you choose. Target unhappy customers from your competitors and have them join you or offer free access to customers who you think would be interested in what you offer.

 

Don’t buy lead databases

 

The importance of quality in B2B lead generation cannot be overstated, so be careful to avoid this one.  Buying lead databases usually doesn’t work and can even harm your reputation with customers. This is because any company with a good quality lead database is not going to sell it, as it would reduce the value of their own marketing efforts.  Even worse, you could be fined for sending unsolicited bulk email if prospects decide to take legal action against your business.  Instead of buying a lead database, focus on growing your list of leads organically through your content marketing efforts.  

We are actually able to take the unstructured data around the web and help define it. We use this to help find decision-makers for our clients, and even understand their user behavior based on specific data sets. This is all thanks to the boundless public information

 

Add Marketing Automation to your Sales Funnel

 

When you collect a prospects email address you should place them into an autoresponder series that slowly drip feeds them content as they move through the sales process.  Each message sent to your leads should be as relevant and targeted as possible.  It’s a mistake to use the same content on your new prospects that you would for your usual customers. Once a lead has moved through your marketing automation funnel they should be comfortable with your brand, allowing your sales team to move in for the close.

 

Answer Questions on Quora

 

Question and answer services like Quora can be a great way to generate new B2B leads.  People searching on Quora are already seeking to solve problems that your business could do for them. Answering user’s questions in an authoritative and knowledgeable manner on Quora establishes the authority and expertise of your brand and often directly generates new leads.

 

Use YouTube for Lead Generation

 

Video is increasingly becoming the preferred method of content for many online visitors.  Using YouTube to generate B2B leads can be difficult, but it provides a unique opportunity for your business to stand out.  To succeed on YouTube it’s important to regularly post content that will be shared organically across the web – try and have at least 10 pieces of video content when first starting a YouTube channel.  

 

Videos that introduce your service to an audience tend to be the best performers for lead generation.  Don’t forget to have a clear call to action in your video that places prospects into your content marketing funnel. One of the major advantages to using YouTube for lead generation is that it allows you to build your remarketing lists and then further engage with prospects.  

 

Generate Great Online Reviews

 

Most potential leads will search for reviews of your service before making a purchase decision.  They will seek out honest reviews of your brand when doing their research, and fake reviews easily stick out.  This makes having reviews of your product available an important aspect of lead generation.  

 

Don’t be tempted to buy fake reviews. This will quickly backfire and hurt your search rankings and brand credibility.  Instead, always ask your current customers to review your product after purchasing.

 

Use Paid Ads

 

Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) is one of the best ways to find new leads quickly.  LinkedIn ads are particularly effective in generating leads in the B2B marketing space.  LinkedIn offers several different advertising options: sponsored content, InMail, Lead Gen Forms and more. However, Lead Gen forms are easily one of the most cost-effective methods to generate new leads in 2018.

 

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms prepopulate a form with information from the users LinkedIn Profile. This makes it far easier to capture leads, as it reduces the number of abandoned forms and makes data entry unnecessary on mobile devices.  All the user must do is press a single button, and they will be opted into your marketing lists which provides you with their full contact information.

 

Install an Exit-Intent Pop-Up

 

Pop-ups on your website can annoy visitors if not used correctly, but a cleverly placed exit-intent pop-up can add leads into your sales funnel. In simple terms, exit-intent is a technology that tracks a user’s browser movements and displays offers or opt-in forms when they are about to leave the page.  By showing a message when the user is about to leave, their intent is often redirected, and they end up on your mailing list.

 

Cold Calling Still Works

 

Cold calling has been one of the most effective lead generations strategies for years.  Many have predicted that it would see a decline due to the rise of social media and online marketing, yet it remains an effective source of new business.  One of the main advantages of cold calling is that you can receive immediate feedback to your pitch, and adapt it as you go.  Well trained sales staff will know when it’s appropriate to deviate from the script and can tailor your pitch to a specific prospect.  

 

Talking on the phone also creates a human connection with your prospect that simply can’t be replicated by other mediums.  Finding common ground and shared experiences allows sales staff to build the credibility of your business.  Potential customers can then research your company on the web and become customers later, even if the initial pitch is unsuccessful.  

 

The main benefit of cold calling is that it breaks through the noise of advertising and social media and can immediately generate new leads.  Warm calling can also be used to follow up with prospects at different points in your sales funnel, such as when they complete an email or telephone opt in.  Studies have shown that the sooner you follow up with a prospect, the greater the chance that they will convert. It’s extremely important to follow up with leads ASAP when they submit any contact information on your website. Cold calling can be an amazing lead generation channel, especially when a well proven script is used.

 

Lead Generation Through Email Marketing

 

Email lead generation has always been at the heart of internet marketing and this will continue for the foreseeable future.  Despite the rise of social media and paid advertising, email marketing remains an effective strategy for lead generation because it allows direct access to your audience while minimizing costs.  

 

While email may appear simpler than other lead generation channels, its only getting harder to stand out in increasingly crowded inboxes. This makes it crucial to master good email composition strategies so that you engage effectively with your audience.  We recommend looking into Findthatlead if you want to find an email for a specific person at a company.

 

Choosing your subject lines

 

Subject lines are the first piece of your email that a potential prospect will interact with, and they can make or break your email campaign.  A subject line is like the headline of an article; a poor subject line means that your email will remain unopened.  Make sure to pick interesting and relevant subject lines that communicate value to the reader before they open your message.

 

Establish a purpose for each email

 

Before you create your lead generation emails, you should clearly define the purpose of each message.  An autoresponder series can contain dozens of emails to slowly nurture a lead, and each message should serve a singular goal.  For example, an email might be used to educate the reader on product offerings or to increase your social media followers.  

 

Provide value to your prospects

 

The body of your email message should be engaging and encourage the reader to take further action.  The easiest way to do this is by providing valuable content to the reader which leaves them wanting more.  Keep an email short and to the point and deliver value to the reader as soon as possible in the message.  Never bombard readers with information that takes too long to process as this will bore them and cause them to abandon the email.  

 

Conclusion

 

A successful SEO strategy in 2018 will deliver more value to the visitor than ever before.  The link between good SEO and lead generation is becoming stronger as more businesses are implementing inbound marketing strategies.  Although it’s important to keep an eye on the newest tactics and trends, never take it to extremes and compromise the value of your brand. A well optimized site in 2018 should continue to work effectively for years to come.