Call To Actions Need To Result in Action

The call to action (CTA) is one of the hardest things to master when it comes to e-commerce. It’s relatively easy to design an attractive page, and you can write great content that gets people pumped. At the same time, it doesn’t matter how good everything else is if your CTA falls flat. If you are having a hard time getting people to buy your product, then use these tips for a better CTA.

call to actions

photo credit: hiddedevries via photopin cc


Make it Distinguishable

Your CTA needs to be distinguishable. Most websites are using CTA buttons so that users know exactly where to click to buy, sign up or do anything else that you need them to do. If you want people to perform an action, then make the CTA button easy to see.

For example, if you have a red website, then make the CTA button blue or yellow. It needs to contrast so that users know exactly what to click.

Use a Consistent Design

You also need to keep the design consistent throughout your website. If the CTA button looks different on each page, then users might get confused about what they need to click. Keeping the design consistent in terms of color and shape will improve the number of users that click the button. It will also keep users from getting confused.

Active Phrases

The CTA button needs to have an active phrase so that users know what to do. Many novice Webmasters write “Click Here,” but this can kill your click-through rate. You need to be more descriptive than this. It lets people know what to expect when they click the button, and an active phrase will persuade more people to buy from you.

For example, you can use “Download Now,” “Get Started,” “Sign Up Here” or “Show Me More.”

Multiple CTA Buttons

You might feel a little pushy if you put multiple CTA buttons on one page, but this can actually help you under certain conditions. If your Web page is long, then some users won’t want to scroll all the way down to find the CTA button. Some users want to buy now, but they don’t know how to go forward.

You should have at least one CTA button above the fold, and then another under a long page of text. This makes your CTA button more visible and accessible, and it should improve your click-through rate.

Use Every Page

Most users will skim through all of your pages before deciding to buy your product. The key to improving your sales online is to make the sales process easy for customers. If you add the CTA button to just one page, then some users may forget where it is. These users will just leave to find another seller.

Conclusion

Many website owners don’t know how to properly make and position their CTA, but you need to learn this quickly if you want to improve your conversion. Just use a good design that contrasts your website, make it easy to find and use active phrases. These few tips on a proper CTA should help you sell more products or services.

How do you use call to actions on your website? Please leave a comment below!

Simple Steps to Master Your Content Strategy

Most of the time, a social marketing manager recognizes that the quality of their content is what drives traffic to their website. If you fail to have adequate and sufficient content, you will ultimately suffer in terms of revenue. When it comes time to create and distribute content, two things you need to bear in mind are marketing and creativity.

Content Road to driving trafficFrom a creativity standpoint, you need to make sure you are continually developing new material that the audience deems important and relevant. You want them to share the information with others and engage them enough to keep coming back for more. In the end, you will have built a community that is surrounded by content.

From the marketing perspective, your function is to amplify all of the content you have on your site. You want content that is capable of going viral. Regardless of whether it happens or not, you will want to distribute and create content that fosters a positive and long-term experience through content association, which will only lead to an increase in loyalty, advocacy and brand engagement.

The best thing you can do is try to remember this simple strategy: If you can add value to your online community and foster the intelligence for your brand, you will notice your business continue to grow. When it comes time to create and implement the marketing strategy you plan to use in your business, you need to master the art of the content loop. The content loop is about a lot more than just writing a blog and publishing it. To make sure you are getting the most out of your content, bear the following steps in mind:

Create

As you create content, you need to have your audience in mind. Creating a rhythm and remaining consistent are two key components of the creation phase. Make sure the information is easy to read and understand. When you write your content, it is important to remember that your presentation and packaging are important. Not only are you able to build upon your message, but you are also able to delve into your creative side.

Curate

It is important that you offer your readers content that is exciting, engaging and educational. You don’t want to give them a bunch of content that is redundant or else they will get bored and seek information elsewhere. Learn how to identify, organize and use all of the resources you are given to help keep your reader engaged and informed.

Socialize

When it comes to distribution of content, you want to make sure it is sharable, searchable, simple and social. As you go through and share your information with others, listen to what they have to say. Interacting with your audience is crucial. Based upon the information your audience gives you, tweak your content to make sure it is something that will draw more and more individuals into your site.

Analyze

Your data tells you exactly how well your content is doing. Make sure you are measuring, monitoring, modifying and moderating your content to make the necessary changes. Focus on what others have to say about your content and build a channel for feedback. Select the appropriate tools that are going to work the best for your specific needs. Refining your strategy is important to ensuring your success.

What else is necessary in a strong content strategy? Please leave a comment below!

What is all the Hype about Social Media Influence

Everyone is looking for the next big thing in Internet marketing, and when you look at the statistics it would seem that social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter are just that thing. It is estimated that about 1.5 billion people use social media outlets daily; that is an increase of 19 percent over last year, and that number is expect to rise exponentially. That is approximately 65 percent of total Internet use. Facebook, with its nearly 900 million regular daily users, makes up the bulk of those numbers.

Logically it would seem that tapping into even a portion of those users would translate to more contacts and bigger sales revenue, so marketing specialists are urging businesses to jump into using social media for marketing and gaining brand recognition.

However, early data shows that popularity on social media networks is not having a big affect on the bottom line of many companies who use them for revenue generation purposes. A recent study conducted by Forrester found that out of 70,000 online sales conducted in April 2012, less than one percent of the transactions could be linked to social media outlets.

There could be several reasons for this, not the least of which is the nature of social media usage itself.

Popularity Versus Influence

Popularity is a measure of the favorable association of a brand or company. Influence is a measure of how much that favorable association plays a part in changing consumer behavior.

Sites like Kred and Klout hype social media’s popularity component, but what do their numbers actually reflect? They mostly measure one’s level of popularity on various social media sites such as the number of likes, shares, and re-tweets, but they don’t really measure how much that popularity generates real social media influence.

A more accurate reflection of how affective your web marketing efforts are in influencing consumer behavior are applications such as Google Analytics, which breaks the numbers down by category and tells you exactly where your revenue is coming from. Appinions also measures your level of influence beyond what social media offers.

Detailed, revenue and influence-specific analysis are a more reliable indicator of the amount of influence your marketing choices have on customer behavior. When you know exactly where your money is making you money, it is easier to make decisions about the allocation of your marketing budget.

Social Media Versus Traditional Web Marketing Strategies

Ordinary influencers like email and search engine-focused advertising are better at revenue generation. These marketing efforts are more targeted and specific. When people want to socialize, they turn to social media; when they want someone to fix their sink, they look for a local plumber on Google. Email marketing campaigns are more effective at incurring repeat business by informing existing customers of special offers and upcoming sales.

Though it is possible to purchase social media influence, or at least purchase an increase in visibility on social media sites, there is little reliable data that such an expenditure translates to sales. Facebook recently admitted that their numbers are greatly exaggerated when it comes to how effective business marketing on their site is at influencing consumer behavior.

Final Verdict

While social media outlets can create an initial ‘buzz’ about a new product or company, efforts in this area usually bring only short-term attention but not any real, sustainable actions. The amount of time, money, and effort to sustain an effective social media campaign and keep the buzz going makes this avenue seem a less attractive expenditure than other web marketing techniques.

The studies in the area of social media’s influence on consumer purchases are still preliminary. Early data suggests that while social media is an effective tool in establishing and maintaining regular interaction and contact with customers, your money is better spent on the tried and true methods of turning prospects into sales.

Top 3 Reasons to Add Mobile Rich Media Marketing

Virtually everyone has a mobile phone today and, if in line with the current culture, they have it with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is reason alone for any business aspiring to increase their marketing strategies to expand their campaign by adding rich media mobile marketing. New research from mobile ad network Mojiva reports that rich media advertising will continue to show substantial growth over the next several years. Their prediction is that it will grow over 300% by 2016. Just during the time the research was conducted, rich media advertising grew 30 percent! The growth is obvious and the positives to adding rich mobile media are endless but we’ve narrowed it down to the top 3 reasons why it’s an absolute necessity in today’s business market:

mobileExposure

The number one reason to add rich media mobile to your advertising plan is the exposure you’ll receive from it. Anywhere you go today, you’ll see people waiting around for a table at a restaurant, a doctor’s appointment in a lobby or a bus at a bus stop. What are they doing while waiting? Checking email, reading text messages or browsing the internet, all from the convenience of their mobile device. Including mobile rich media in your campaign will get your message and product out to millions of consumers in a matter of seconds. While virtually everyone has a mobile phone, not everyone has access to a computer. Mobile marketing will eventually be the #1 way for retailers to gain visibility and exposure to their product so it’s best to start sooner than later.

Apps

There’s no doubt that, while the mobile rich media rate continues to rise, so does the creation of new apps for mobile phones. Spending the money on creating an app for your business will end up paying off in the long run. It will ad to the exposure you’ll get from email and video links alone. Not to mention, it will also put you into the popular Droid, Amazon and Apple app markets that are visited daily by millions looking for a new interest via their mobile phones.

Technology

Smartphones today have endless capabilities. Improved internet browsing capabilities, swipe and touch, direct link embedded in emails and much more. With that said, your marketing campaign has to match the capabilities of the mobile phones it is reaching. This includes ensuring that your technology enables access to full internet access via mobile phones, optimizing the ad for mobile and desktop views. Smartphone aficionados tend to spend a considerable amount of time browsing the web sites on their mobile phone. Many of those sites are accessed via a direct link from an email received. At times, the desktop view is sufficient to see everything the user is looking for. When on the go and looking to see information quickly, most users prefer the mobile view. Optimizing your mobile rich media campaign means ensuring that you can meet the needs of any mobile device your ads may appear on. If the user has any trouble accessing information, it’s unlikely they will try again and more likely you ad will be ignored or deleted.

In addition to optimizing your web site, it’s also crucial to include as many aspects of mobile rich media marketing as well. Capabilities including embedded video links and GPS location give consumers information about you and your product and it will even help direct them right to your store front.

With mobile rich media advertising increasing in popularity and sophistication, it’s important to get your message out to consumers efficiently and get it out there fast. Use as many avenues to reach your consumers as possible to get your advertising campaign out there, including apps and social media, and do it quickly. With an expected growth of 300% over the next several years, the time to move to mobile rich media is now.

Customer Service in the Social Space

Many companies have made the leap into marketing their brand via social media networks. However, social media presents new opportunities for customer service, as well. Though many companies task the marketing department with enhancing brand visibility on Facebook, Twitter and other popular platforms, few companies utilize these social networks to enhance and improve the customer experience.

customer serviceCustomer service through social media is not only an excellent way to further promote the brand, it is a great way to improve customer loyalty and demonstrate the high value that the company assigns to customer perception. In order to master the art of customer service via social media, those tasked with social media marketing must also be trained to deliver customer service when the opportunity is presented:

Promptly answer questions and provide valuable insight

One of the best opportunities for offering customers service on social media platforms is when a customer poses a question. Those tasked with social media customer service should seize upon such an opportunity to quickly answer the question. Answers should be prompt and public. Use each question posed over a social media venue as a priceless opportunity to educate potential customers about the brand.

For example, if a social media user posts a question about how to use a product in a certain way, a great customer service interaction would include a detailed response about using the product, along with a few additional suggestions for use.

Interact with a professional, yet laid back tone

Social media is all about developing relationships. Users expect interactions with a conversational tone. Those well-versed in marketing promotions may need to be cross-trained in customer service techniques that involve interacting with social media users in a more relaxed and conversational way while projecting professionalism and positivity about the brand.

Train those responsible for providing customer service over social media platforms to consider the complex nature of such interactions. Rather than a quick response to a question, time should be devoted to constructing a response that is informational, conversational and well-developed. Customer service responders must always remember that many eyes will observe each response.

Use negative posts and comments as customer service opportunities

Social media provides customers with a ready platform for voicing concerns and expressing negative opinions about a particular brand. Though some companies see negative comments and feedback as necessitating reputation management and damage control, other companies view these situations as opportunities for customers service.

For example, when a company representative identifies a high-profile comment that casts a negative light on the brand, a strategy should be formulated that directly addresses the concerns of the poster. Though many companies opt to take these interactions “off-line” and deal privately with negative concerns, dealing openly and publicly with a negative post shows others that the company cares about customers. Those observing the interaction over social media are more likely to perceive the company as one that places a high importance on customer perceptions. Such perceptions lead to a feeling of empowerment for consumers.

Because social media is here to stay, business may greatly benefit from learning ways to use such platforms to deliver outstanding customer service.

Do you use social media for customer service at your company? Please leave a comment below!

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing: The Rules have Changed

Most customers do not like traditional outbound marketing because they view them as being intrusive. When customers want products, they want to search for them right now and locate the nearest business that can provide them with what they need. Users are much more receptive to messages delivered through inbound marketing, such as social media channels and Google searches.

TelemarketingInbound Marketing Appears to be the Way of the Future

Inbound marketing is likely to become the primary way that businesses will draw in new customers in the future. When customers are sent pop-ups, commercials and telemarketing calls, they often think “why are they trying to sell me that?” In fact, Mashable found that 44% of traditional outbound mail is never opened. Outbound print ads, TV ads and banner ads are messy and unpredictable, while inbound marketing is targeted toward customers who want a specific product. Even worse, outbound marketing can drive users away, with 84% of 25 to 34 year olds leaving a favorite website because of advertisements. Also, 91% of email users have unsubscribed to company emails because of email marketing.

Customers Have More Ways to Avoid Outbound Marketing Messages

Mashable found that 86% of people now skip through television commercials thanks to DVR. Many users have low engagement for website advertisements due to ad blindness (this is a phenomenon where users do not notice advertisements placed on websites).

Inbound Marketing Satisfies a User’s Desire to Research Products

Customers are more careful with their money and are less willing to spend money on a defective product. As a result, most customers will spend a lot of time researching products before committing the purchasing one. Inbound marketing plays a large role in generating leads for businesses, but also in influencing the perception that customers have of the product.

Essentially, inbound marketing is growing because it carries the following benefits:

• Targeted customers

• More desirable to customers

• Lower costs

But there are some limitations to inbound marketing. Many customers genuinely are not aware of products that they would benefit from and many forms of inbound marketing, such as search engine optimization (SEO), rely on customers being aware of a product before they search for it. Outbound marketing can generate buzz for new and innovative products.

Businesses Must Be Careful in How They Implement Inbound Marketing Tactics

Inbound marketing has to be handled more carefully. With outbound marketing, it is obvious to the customer that the marketing materials are a sales pitch. However, with content and blog marketing, podcasts, eBooks and infographics, businesses need to build trust and many customers might be more offended when they are sold to through a blog.

Not All Consumers Embrace Online Marketing

Another factor to consider is that inbound marketing is mostly through digital channels. There are still customers who do not spend a lot of time online or who do not trust online businesses and are afraid to give their credit cards out online. The point is that inbound marketing should not necessarily serve as a replacement for outbound marketing, but should serve as a complimentary part of the marketing mix.

Companies Should Focus On What Works

Businesses should ultimately focus on which marketing methods are the most effective. Collect data periodically and determine which methods are generating the best ROI.

Are you using inbound marketing tactics, outbound marketing tactics, or both? How do you use them so they compliment all of your marketing mix? Leave your comments below.

Traditional Marketing Still Works!

Marketing may be more high-tech these days, but traditional marketing methods still have a place in today’s 140-character obsessed world. Facebook and other forms of social media are viable marketing methods, but it’s a bit premature to place traditional marketing in the same category as VHS tapes and payphones. While there has been an undeniable paradigm shift, traditional marketing tactics are still in place, and are still effective.

It Doesn’t Have to Be One or the Other

Why do you have to shift all your marketing efforts to social media just to remain competitive today? It doesn’t have to be one or the other in order to achieve your goals. There is no rule that says you have to go ONLY with social media or online marketing, and abandon your traditional marketing efforts. Traditional marketing still offers:

High-level of engagement – Many print ads and fliers today often include reference to a company’s website or suggest that interested customers “visit us on Facebook for more.” This not only engages customers in a traditional way, but also encourages engagement through your online marketing efforts.

Building on an existing market – Any business that’s been around for a while has an existing market. Your loyal customers were probably first introduced to you through billboards, print ads, and other traditional efforts. Use your existing database to create a contact list you can use for newer marketing efforts such as blogging, e-books, and email marketing.

face2face events still matter – Events such as conventions, public speaking engagements, and press conferences are still very effective tools. This gives you a chance to answer questions and have greater control over the message you convey. Even door-to-door marketing and handing out fliers can still be effective, especially for small businesses with smaller target areas.

Note: Make sure you give people a way to opt out of online contact though. The last thing you want to do is annoy previous customers who may use your service or products again or pass your name onto friends.

Traditional Marketing Can Still Reach a Large Audience

Social media wields a certain power, but an equal impact can still be seen from traditional marketing efforts such as print, outdoor, and location-based advertising. Many TV and radio stations offer targeted marketing solutions. They allow you to have your ad air at a certain time or during a specific program such as the news.

Participating in a community event or donating to a local charity is still a great way to generate a news feed that may be picked up by local or national media outlets. Of course, you can further spread the word through your social media resources.

Traditional media outlets are still relevant for two very important reasons: there’s an established viewing audience already in place and messages can easily be directed towards target demographics to maximize impact. Traditional marketing still works: Don’t throw the water out with the baby!

Which traditional marketing methods do you still use in the digital age? How do you integrate your online presence with your offline presence? Leave a comment below!