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Why Guilt Is Good for Marketing and Building Emotional Response

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Why Guilt Is Good for Marketing and Building Emotional Response

Marketing strategists know the importance of hitting consumers right where it hurts. Depending on the product or service, the creative pitch and delivery should tap into an emotion. Anger, joy, dread, anticipation, doubt, fear, confidence, guilt, or shame, emotion is what drives people to relate to a given advertising message. And it’s this relatability that will hold their interest, allow them to process the message and hopefully, engage response.

We Are Glutton for Punishment

It turns out that guilt is more than a quick go-to, and I might add desperate, tactic used by parents in getting their kids to do what they’re asking. The art of persuasion in marketing is used by creative gurus to make the audience believe that they will feel some sense of guilt if they miss the advertising opportunity presented. Moreover, if the viewers give the guilt-ridden message attention, there must be a moment that resonates with them and further accentuates the guilt already in place. Here’s an example.

The Blame Game

In a society that shudders at the thought of being accountable for anything, no one likes to be reminded of a faux pas, mistake, indiscretion or a flat out epic failure. When it happens, many quickly jump at the chance to point the proverbial finger on someone or something else as being the source of the snafu. Yes, there’s a lot of finger pointing going on—just look at our politics and how the media portrays these cat-and-mouse antics that denigrate personal and business brand.

But blame seemingly raises the eyebrows of consumers getting them to stop, watch, and share the information. In fact, this isn’t counterculture anymore but the natural process of social media channels in action. Decades earlier, when it was good business practice to admit to a problem and fix it or put out a retraction correcting the misinformation, there is no such content animal in existence today. In fact, we thrive on marketing mistakes and often devise them on purpose. Remember, bad press is still – good press.

Part public service announcement, part big pharma-to-physician-to-consumer play, this TV spot hits parents and their teenagers hard by pitting them against one another through the sharing of vital health information, and laying some heavy blame. The advertiser, Merck, provides new knowledge to its audience while simultaneously shaming them for not knowing the info beforehand. Compelling as it is, this shame and indirect blame reinforces the importance of the message, leaving the audience guilty unless they act on the message… or forever be held accountable by their children. A cheap shot? Manipulation at its highest level? Absolutely. Is it effective? Just ask any parent that’s seen it on television because if they remember then it worked, right?

The Fault of Our Own

There are certain subjects that get people and their panties rolled up too tight: children, aging parents, fitness, education, personal space, and health to name a few. But when it comes to diet and weight loss, it reigns supreme on hitting people’s buttons on the woulda-shoulda-coulda rant. Though it may not always be expressed, many Americans would own the notion that they do need to lose, at least, five pounds. But oh the list of reasons why it isn’t happening. I could get rich quick if I could cite them all.

Not only is our guilt, laziness, and frustration about diet and weight loss a popular topic of conversation, it sets consumers up for the continual cycle of triumph and defeat. It’s what weight loss program developers and fat-free product manufacturers hope for and make a hefty profit on. Nonetheless, people are like sheep. And advertisers and their clients love sheep.

Dangers of Guilt in Advertising

You’ve probably run across individuals in your life who appear to thrive on misery. It must be a ‘thing’ considering the programming across media outlets echoes the sentiment. However, there is a flip side or two to this type of story. America likes a good amount of sap with their misery. It’s our way of coming out ahead, rooting for the underdog and winning, or holding on to hope, faith, and that it matters and makes a difference. This Fiber One commercial blends the bad and the good, well.

When we use guilt in marketing, it’s important to remember who the target audience is and how they are likely to respond.

Consider adding the following to your guilt-ridden messaging:

  • Happy ending
  • Humor
  • Solution-based final thought or call-to-action
  • Non-profit or charitable mention

Other than the misery-seekers and negative Nancys you may know, guilt is not usually something we like to share. Typically, we keep our guilt hidden or quickly deflect it with a good shot of blame sent elsewhere. But if you have to use guilt to give your marketing campaign the attention it deserves, make sure to give the audience a way out of feeling bad, by offering something that feels good.

Shame and Guilt, the Double Whammy

As risky as it can be, there are inherent benefits to using guilt in your marketing as it is representative of some of the twisted aspects of our interpersonal relationships. Think of a best friend, partner, or spouse. In the best of circumstances, you have gained a level of trust where you feel ‘safe’ in sharing exactly how you feel.

Unfortunately, this isn’t just about the compliments, thoughtfulness, praises and other displays of appreciation. It also includes those moments that really put you in disbelief, shock, and awe. And it is in these moments that we may not feel empathy or sympathy, but are compelled to remind the other person of their idiocy. Yeah, reality bites.

Alka-Seltzer found the sweet spot in this human condition and nailed it on their award-winning campaign from decades ago. Some may say that the copywriter and creative director were way ahead of their time. Although, I’m thinking that indigestion is timeless.

Watch What You Say and the Way You Say It

When did having ‘no filter’ be more acceptable than common courtesy? This positioning trait can be effective in advertising. But before you lead with content that emotionally shakes consumers without giving them any positive recourse when it’s over, ask yourself and your marketing team this: How would it make you feel? Do they enjoy eating a crow sandwich topped with guilt-flavored jelly? Does it shame them into making a change? And if they simply start sobbing, blame it on the writers. It’s always our fault.

Ask Us to Review How Your Brand Speaks to Your Clients

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Top 5 Marketing Trends to Add to Your 2019 Growth Strategy

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Top 5 Marketing Trends to Add to Your 2019 Growth Strategy

It’s hard to teach an old dog, new tricks. And for the seasoned marketing professional, dusting off last year’s creative and SEO must-haves isn’t easy – especially if you’ve experienced success with your current strategies. But laziness isn’t the true mantra of a media agency with any clout. So make room for the latest and greatest tidbits of online marketing services for 2019 to help bolster your business marketing efforts into the next plateau. Here’s our fistful of knowledge.

How Compelling Is Your Story?

This is, perhaps, the most exciting part of where brand marketing is headed in 2019. We’re back to all that’s golden in advertising and marketing — it’s about ideation. Remember that? Creative gurus and strategists are ideas people at heart and this year, we get to lead with that. So set up your conference room with the right amount of snacks and design a think tank made up of your best and brightest and let the light bulbs of creativity shine.

Truth Be Told

Drama fuels viral marketing. And unfortunately, drama also fuels what people find newsworthy. But it goes beyond that. We all know too well how media outlets don’t really put out news stories anymore and have been replaced with opinion segments impersonating what should be raw and real.

While we may never get back to news in the truest sense of the word (and industry) the essence of story will take center stage more than ever, with a twist.

Consumers crave what they can’t or don’t have and in that, we all want to feel validated in our concerns, heard by others, seen by many, and have the ability to touch and elicit change on a global scale. To accomplish this, online marketing needs to bridge the gap between consistency and change while simultaneously providing a seamless, personalized, sensory experience.

No Such Thing as a Sensory Overload

Brand Messaging

With the advent and overuse of mobile and stationery screens, consumers may not be getting real or truthful experiences (i.e. filters, reality TV that isn’t reality, etc.) but they want to believe that they are. It’s the need to create a more palatable reality than what’s in front of us, similar to why many people get sucked into drug and alcohol use.

The more humans feel, the more they mask the feeling.

If you have a team of SEO marketing experts, you know that content marketing is strengthened by the right link building services. On the face of it, you are helping stories cast a wider net, hopefully within a niche. Here’s what you need to keep in mind going forward.

Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2019 Growth Strategy

What you do to your brand and your business this year will undoubtedly carry over into subsequent years. In fact, I cannot say this strongly enough. Unless your products or services only have an audience abroad and don’t touch U.S. consumers, the upcoming elections will bear down on social media presence.

While your business may not have anything to do with the American Presidency, social media will dictate that it does, with or without your consent. (Facebook and the Russian interference…)

The best way to try and keep your social marketing nose clean is to abide by these 5 marketing trends.

  1. Personalization

    Every aspect of marketing output needs a deeper imprint on personalization. From AI to brick-and-mortar experiences, emotional connection and digital intuitiveness need to meet consumers where they are, and in the moment.

  1. Sound Advice

    Alexa isn’t the only game in town. As people grow more accustomed to hands-free communication, our reliance on voice-activated technologies and messaging will play a bigger role in 2019. When you are orchestrating marketing campaigns, make sure to define and redefine your audiences. Incorporating audio-based marcom might give you an edge compared to your competitors.

  1. The Human Touch

    Rethink how you’re building relationships. I guarantee you that your audience is and will remain highly critical (and tell you so) if your messaging isn’t on point and genuine. In plain English: Don’t sell them, embrace emotional connection instead.

    You do this by integrating customer stories with your brand story. Heck, do an entire campaign on their stories as defining who you are. In reality, your customers are your best brand ambassadors so highlight them. Where they lead, others will follow.

    Tell these collective stories where they are most sought after and in the medium that people prefer: video, video, video. Vlog instead of blog. YouTube to create relevance. Dare to share moments that aren’t staged, forced or coerced. Have the courage to be real. The brands that have the balls to take off their veil, extoll their truth, and take the heat will get the attention. Isn’t that what this is all about?

  1. Cross-Channels

    People consume as much as they can in any given moment. Your marketing campaigns will get more viewer bang for the buck if you strategically place your messaging across the platforms that your target audience uses most. But don’t assume you know their media habits. Get the help from media buy and social experts before you spend your ad dollars incorrectly.

  1. Positivity

    Let’s get back to the upcoming Presidential election. The media hype is starting. The speculation has already taken root. Now, it’s only a matter of time before the negative tongue lashing begins. If we look back at the last political campaigns (all parties) no one can really claim owning the congeniality award.

    What we can say is that those social marketing impressions made politicians, and the people they hope to govern, look foolish, graceless, and irresponsible. Did anyone really win anything worth winning? Is there a positive endgame to anger and animosity amongst us?

    No doubt that there will be many unsavory, repeat performances. Though we may be well-intended, chances are that the deafening negativity could drown out the more virtuous messages and justified public outcries. And in this noise will live a dire need for peace, stability, and an underlying truth that must rise to the surface.

But we’re just marketers, right?

Don’t Squander Your Marketing Power

Consumers are like sponges. What you dish out, they will take, eat, spit out and share. Your 2019 growth strategy for marketing must be cognizant of this and maximize its advantages at every angle.

Minimizing your effect on your brand, your consumers, and potential followers is likened to negating your responsibility as a communications professional.

There is much to do in online marketing to take what’s wrong and make it right. Join us in resetting our industry standards. Help us evolve to a better place in time.

Be Part of the Marketing Evolution

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Why Agency and Client Business Marketing Expectations Disconnect

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Why Agency and Client Business Marketing Expectations Disconnect

Imagine yourself sitting at a negotiating table. You could be the business owner looking for the best way to market your company products or services to a captive audience. You might be the marketing executive, hoping to secure a new client. But no matter which side of the table you find yourself, there is an unspoken, yet crucial, aspect to forging this relationship. Hidden between the lines in even the best drafted agreement is the business marketing expectations that reside within each party. And seldom do the twain meet. Here’s why.

Not Everyone Speaks the Same Marketing Language

You may know your business, but it doesn’t mean you know marketing. On the flip side, marketing agencies know the nuances behind great copy and show-stopping design (or they should) but don’t count on them being experts at the differences between lug nuts. But if you manufacture lug nuts to a variety of industries, for example, how do you know which creative agency can help you effectively share the information, reestablish your brand, and build a following all about lug nuts? You don’t, initially.

Lug Nuts Don’t Help If They Don’t Fit

Allow me to expand on this makeshift scenario. You are the lug nut company. We Are Ego is the marketing agency looking to pitch and land lug nuts as a client. Here’s how a typical meeting might go down, whether you’re working at getting the account or desperately trying to keep it.

The We Are Ego agency believes they know everything about marketing. Its owners will tell you that as a fact. As such, they pitch you and pontificate in detail about how their knowledge and experience supersedes what you know about lug nuts. If they’re any good at their pitch, they’ll have you believing that. And if they’re just as talented at convincing your customers that you are the lug nut kings of the industry, this relationship will be golden.

But where there’s ego, there’s noise.

Your client’s customers won’t focus on the noise. Sure, they might be intrigued by the ad or promotion delivery. They could be intrigued by the marketing message or can’t get enough of the latest product offering. But the bottom line to the lug nut customer is… the lug nut.

Dialing this back a bit further, advertising agencies of the past reveled in their ability to spin their audiences through solid creative. Today, it takes a back seat to the most important aspect of marketing: The people who will consume your product or service. People are primary. Period…

…now back at the negotiating table. You’ve got two different kinds of people. How can you make them fit into each other’s square hole?

The Digital Debacle

If the lug nut company has a CTO, then you can banter beautifully about the analytics of social channels and the scalability of your preferred web design template and how it will lessen the cost and down-time in production, if they switch to your platform. Unfortunately, for the lug nut management representatives at the table representing sales, operations, manufacturing, legal, and logistics, all you’ve done is throw a slew of terminology at them that might as well be Greek. Because it is.

You haven’t impressed them. The lug nut team now feels out of step, out of touch, and belittled. How can they gage your value when they have no idea what you said? And so much for building trust. Good job We Are Ego. Great way to pitch a prospect (sarcasm overload here).

Technology and digital means of communication have allowed us to touch more people faster, but with much less efficacy. It has desensitized our ability to connect on the human level, which is where you truly need to be to reach people and make a positive, lasting impression. Isn’t that what marketing is all about? This goes for client interface too.

How did we get so lost in this data driven society?

Some People Read But Nobody Listens

Agency and Client Business Marketing This is a story of the chicken and the egg. The internet has reset the bar on how many media impressions a person can take per second and, with that, the attention level needed to take it all in. The result is that people cannot nor care not to truly digest what’s being thrown at them.

In addition, now that we (consumers) are expected to process more information at a quicker rate, we have less time to spend on each marketing message. This is a challenge for the marketing agency. Getting your creative to craft messaging that grabs the attention of the reader/viewer is the key to bringing a lug nut brand to market and growing it from there.

Unfortunately, people don’t read. And when it comes to marketing agency-to-client business agreements… these people don’t read either.

Where Egos Talk, Pigs Fly

Then there’s the art of listening. What? Exactly. People are generally more worried about what they are going to say than concern themselves with whatever it is that you just said. Right. This brings new meaning to the term circular conversation. People talk but the communication doesn’t have a purpose and seldom goes anywhere. Isn’t that productive?

We’re still at that negotiating table. While this meeting may just be an initial client pitch for their business, negotiations between a marketing agency and a client are always taking place – every time they communicate.

Swallow that truth, and you might change your communications best practices.

Marketing Agency and Client-Side Etiquette

  • Say what you mean
  • Mean what you say
  • Document it

The above points may require some extra work on both agency and client but it will save countless hours of frustration and heightened emotions along the way. And it will save your relationship, instead of having to salvage it.

If you’re the agency, perhaps you prefer boasting about your creative portfolio, stellar accounts, and trophy wall full of awards. Gloating doesn’t make pigs or clients fly. But some agencies try. They try.

Revisit Conversations, Often

Think back on the last conversation you had with your marketing agency or member of your internal marketing team. You have a recollection about a web-based initiative, the deliverables needed and the associated deadlines. There was scope creep involved but the deadlines stayed the same.

Unfortunately, that was just the part of that prior conversation that you chose to remember. The marketing guru emphatically remembers that the deadlines got pushed, because of scope creep.

People tend to remember what they want to remember especially when it serves them best. However, had there been additional conversations about the shift in scope, the misunderstanding would be caught and addressed earlier, without the agency/client standoff.

Right, Wrong and Fair

My father once told me, “Business is like life. No one ever said it was going to be fair.” The ins and outs of the marketing agency and client relationship parallel that statement. There will be times in your partnership (that’s what it should be) where volatility will rise and patience will falter. It’s okay to have differing viewpoints on what will work in marketing and what won’t. The essence of your shared dynamic is in realizing you want to achieve the same goals. How you get there may be the source of contention, which isn’t bad.

Opposing marketing ideologies keeps the agency and the client on their professional toes, acquiescing into learning new things, and staying competitive. And in that – everyone wins.

Establish the Preferred Method of Chatter

Have you heard about the 5 Languages of Love? I wouldn’t bestow those onto your business relations; however, there are languages of communication. Depending on many factors, every person will have their own preferred method for communication.

  • Text
  • Email
  • Phone call
  • Video call
  • Face-to-face

Whether the reasoning behind the preference is convenience, audio or visual sensitivity, as well as a combination of both, make sure to ask what the best form of communication is per agency and client representatives.

Restate the Obvious

Be it a phone conversation, text message, video conference or email correspondence, send a follow up communication and reiterate the major points covered in the communication. State your understanding of the takeaways from it, as well as the next steps needed. Then ask the other party to confirm your understanding or provide counterpoints that differ, in writing.

This will serve both sides well in the event of scope creep, memory loss or momentary lapses of reason during an overview of marketing budget, performance metrics or creative campaign presentation.

Nothing Can Replace a Face-to-Face

Most of us have been guilty of sending an email to the wrong person and hitting “Reply All” instead of “Forward” or “Reply”. What about your ill-thought response to a client or agency message? When you perceive it the wrong way and blew an incident way out of proportion.

Digital communication snafus happen. Often.

Derail the damage done by adding a monthly face-to-face with your client. If a client isn’t local, work in a trip to their office at least once a quarter or have them come to you. It’s the best way to get a comprehensive understanding of who they are, if they’re confident in your abilities, and whether they truly like you. Does that even matter?

Yaaass. People prefer to work with people they like. If a client has found two different marketing agencies with similar reputations and solid performance benchmarks, agency personality and likeability are the tipping point to securing the account.

Your Contract Is Your Friend

It may not be fun to enter into a business agreement between agency and client with a litigious mindset, but it’s worth its weight in preventing hassle down the road.

A well-crafted contract is your friend. A solid agreement provides the foundational support needed when missteps happen over the course of the marketing agency/client association.

But don’t think that the marketing service contract is all about numbers. Of course the budget, monthly retainer, KPIs and ROI is important. But what blurs the numbers and the mechanisms to achieve them are expectations that get glossed over from one side to the other.

Can you avoid assumptions borne from expectations? More than you might think.

Add specific provisions into the contract:

  • Cost for changes to deliverables
  • Cost for scope creep (production and timelines)
  • Call out preferred communications to be used

In addition to the above, revisit the contract (internally) every 90 days. You’ll know if you (agency or client) are in accord with the terms and conditions and can make adjustments before the other side calls you out on it. If you feel that a modification should be made to the contract, consider drafting an Addendum and scheduling a face to face to discuss the matter.

Here’s what can happen if you don’t.

The Agency Is the Last to Know

You’ve never been asked to meet with the business owner. But you received a call out-of-the-blue and now find yourself doing the two-hour road trip late on a Friday morning to get there. But you’re prepared. You’ve got the latest monthly reports ready to be presented showing the steady increase in site visits, social engagements, and followers. With any luck, you should be receiving the final edit to the latest video production creative has completed and know it will “Wow” them.

But something happened between contract and expectations that was never discussed.

You enter the conference room and find 10 angry-looking executives who scowl at your very presence. Instead of presenting numbers, representative of the fruits of your labor, you receive a lashing of untruths relayed in expletives. The core accusations?

  • Inconsistent communication
  • Skewing performance numbers
  • Missed deadlines

Justifiable? Not according to the contract. Unfortunately, the contract can be perceived in multiple ways. (Isn’t that how attorneys secure ongoing employment?)

This client/agency encounter didn’t end well, though it could have.

If the Relationship Can’t Be Saved, No Need for Sour Grapes

Never burn a bridge in business. It’s short-sighted, like cutting off your nose to spite your face and almost as painful.

Regardless of how you believe the other party wronged you, this is all temporary. And if you’ve served your client well, let them go gracefully. Time will show truth. They may come back at some point in the future when they see the value of your business and what you brought to the table.

Should that happen, follow the guidelines in this blog. But before you e-sign on the dotted line, come to a place where agency/client expectations meet and egos are left at the door.

Real Communication Brings Real Results, Faster. Ask Us How

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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How Dynamic Landing Pages Help Increase Conversion Rates

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How Dynamic Landing Pages Help Increase Conversion Rates

Is your company’s website performing at a much lower conversion rate than you are trying to target? You’re not alone. Many company sites fail to generate enough leads due to design flaws and ineffective conversion techniques. However, having landing pages that are dynamic and creative can aid your company in boosting online conversion.

What Are Dynamic Landing Pages?

Landing pages are the bread and butter of your company website. Typically, businesses use these pages as links for sponsored advertisements to drive web traffic to the site. Web designers craft the page to target a specific conversion, such as purchasing a new product or downloading a free eBook.

Standard elements of a landing page include:

  • A single, clear Call to Action (CTA).
  • Potential SEO, although not required.
  • A description of products and additional content necessary to sell the conversion.

A landing page does not have a site navigation attached to it. In addition, only one CTA can exist on a landing page since the purpose of these pages is to target a specific conversion. No internal or external links are available on a landing page aside from the CTA.

Dynamic pages, on the other hand, are web pages that are customizable to a user’s location. It displays different messages to different users based on location or keywords. Landing pages and dynamic pages can combine forces to create one effective web tool for your business: the dynamic landing page.

Dynamic pages for e-commerce allow businesses to further customize the user experience and push the conversion. A user will appreciate the tailor-made page and is more likely to convert than they would a standard landing page.

Dynamic Landing Pages and Conversion Rates

Dynamic landing pages have the potential to increase your company’s conversion rates because they are directly relevant to the user. Standard landing pages lack this relevancy. Instead of landing on a basic page, the designers customize landing pages to fit the user’s needs.

For example, say that you run a nationwide cleaning service company. If a person is searching for a cleaning service, they want to find one in their local area. A standard landing page would lead them to your site, but they may need to type in their location manually. However, a dynamic landing page will tailor results to their location specifically, showing that your company can service their home. This will make it easier for the customer to schedule an appointment with you.

A study by the UK-based firm Periscopix directed visitors to a cleaning service site to either a dynamic landing page or a standard landing page. The study found that desktop conversion rate for the dynamic landing page increased by 9.2% and the mobile conversion rate increased by 25.2% — a major increase in business for the company.

Dynamic Landing Pages

Necessary Elements for Creative Landing Pages

Investing in a dynamic landing page is crucial to increasing your company’s conversion rates. However, you should follow these best practices to ensure that your web pages direct traffic in the right direction and communicate your desired messages clearly.

  • Write a strong, well-crafted headline.

    You can create different headlines based on keywords to add the dynamic factor to your landing page. Select a handful of the most common pain points and construct your headlines around them.

  • Include a visual focus on your landing page.

    Choose an image that reflects your company culture and values. Choose an emotion to target and find large, dynamic images to match this emotion.

  • Add a persuasive subheading.

    After you grab your visitor’s attention with the headline, include more information to help them convert. Elaborate on the offer you’re trying to sell and aim to help your visitors move past their hesitation to convert.

  • Eliminate risk by adding a guarantee.

    Offer a free trial, free consultation, or product demo. You can also offer a money-back guarantee within a certain timeframe. Whatever the case, create a situation where the visitor has little to lose from the conversion.

Dynamic Landing Pages with Help from Eminent SEO

Ready to create a dynamic landing page for your company website? Contact Eminent SEO today to learn more about our web design services.

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Vol. 80: Here’s Why You Need a Live Chat Feature on Your Website

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Vol 80 Newsletter Live Web Chat - Eminent SEO

Give ‘Em Something to Chat About

More and more website owners are infusing their site with live chat tools. This is an especially smart choice for websites with service and product offerings. The potential ROI is just too enticing to pass up.

A web chat pop-up feature might seem like a minor annoyance at first – to both you and your visitors – but studies are showing that this feature helps more than it harms.

Among the many benefits of adding a chat feature to a website, consider:

  • It helps build a more memorable brand experience.
  • It gives visitors a place to turn if they get stuck and need any questions answered quickly. In other words, it improves your customer service.
  • You can offer visitors special deals and deliver price quotes in real time through the chat module.
  • It gives you a sense of which pages and products that users are visiting most when they reach out with questions.
  • It allows you to consolidate your resources: You can have one person manage multiple chats at once, and you can develop canned responses to common questions.
  • You can use it as a lead-nurturing tool. HubSpot says 99% of first-time website visitors aren’t ready to buy. You can nudge them closer to purchase by chatting with them directly.

At Eminent SEO, web chat is just one component of a comprehensive marketing campaign we can develop for your business.

See How Else We Generate Leads

Live Chat Feature Takeaway

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The beauty in adding live web chat to your website is that it provides a vehicle for consumer engagement, bringing a true and unique user experience at the precise moment you have their attention.

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Adding A Web Chat Feature To Your Website - Eminent SEO

Why Adding a Web Chat Feature to Your Website Gives You a Market Advantage

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Business & Marketing Tips: The Best Live Chat Software for YOUR Website

Top 11 Live Web Chat Apps For Customer Service - Eminent SEOIf you answer yes to any of these three questions, then your website is a good candidate for a new chat feature:

  1. Do you sell goods/services on your site?
  2. Does your website attract a community that would benefit from more engagement?
  3. Are you (or somebody at your company) available to respond to chat inquires regularly?

The best web chat software for your site will depend on your website goals and your budget. For some small businesses, it makes sense to focus more on simplicity and ease of use, while other, more technical companies might want a more robust offering that can serve as more than just a live web chat platform.

In our chart below, our criteria heavily favors software whose primary purpose is providing live customer support, rather than helpdesk/tech support or serving as a team chat or CMS platform. The chart features of 11 of the top web chat products to consider for your website.

Click on the image below to see a larger version. Please note that we have no affiliation with any of the following products; we just want to help you make an informed decision.

Comparison Chart Live Web Chat Software Programs - ESEO(Click to Enlarge)

Keep in mind that all of these recommended products offer a free trial, which will allow you to see how well they fit your company’s needs before committing.

Closing Thoughts

Multi Channels Icons For Tablet - ESEOWeb chat is just one piece of the larger marketing puzzle. You need to take a multi-channel marketing approach. This means leveraging your website, social media, email, Google My Business, PPC and several other direct and indirect “channels” in order to interact with prospects and encourage them to take a specific action.

Learn More About Our Marketing Approach

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Chris Weatherall

President and SEO Strategist Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!

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Why Adding a Web Chat Feature to Your Website Gives You a Market Advantage

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Adding A Web Chat Feature To Your Website - Eminent SEO
As a business owner, you take pride in the products or services you provide to others. If you are a strategic marketer representing a business, part of your action plan includes positioning your client in a manner that maximizes their visibility and entices a specific audience to ultimately convert a sale. It isn’t as easy as it used to be. Here’s why.

Over the last decade, the sales cycle got so…much…longer. Conversely, though, human behavior dictates instant gratification. How could one possibly merge the two effectively? By adding a chat feature to your website, you’ll get in front of interested parties faster, increasing conversion rates by 30 percent or more.

Patience Has Lost Its Virtue

Customers Abandon Online Purchase Statistic Forrester Report - Eminent SEOThe adage “good things come to those who wait” was created long before internet technology came about. True, many savvy would-be buyers take their time before making a purchase decision, but the process has drastically changed from when Baby Boomers were young. (Ugh!)

Now, Gen X and Y dominate the eCommerce playing field, with Generation Z moving up quickly. To these three consumer targets, patience was never looked at as a virtue, but a complete waste of time.

The sales cycle has become lengthy; just ask any salesperson in the tech, automotive, real estate or retail fields – to name a few. Before people could pull up Google and search for answers, they would have to rely on physically entering a brick-and-mortar store and trusting the knowledge of the on-site sales staff.

Today, consumers intermittently search online for months, gathering information, comparing products, pricing and associated reviews. While some will continue online through the end of the sales cycle and purchase via a shopping cart, others take the time to go to the physical business to get a feel for the product or service, its people and culture before buying. And even then, they often go back to the virtual store to make the purchase.

How to Turn Today’s Searchers into Immediate Buyers

Let’s turn the focus on you for a moment. After all, you’re a part of the same buying pool as everyone else. You’re reading this blog online; we all live in the virtual space, more than many of us are aware of or would like to admit. As such, we put an incredible amount of emphasis on not only what we find online, but also on what others say about their life experiences offline.

Simply open Facebook or Twitter and there’s a variety of rant available to read. There are also the ever-popular puppy or foodie posts all magnified through the ability to reply, comment or chat. So why not capture customers in the manner they’ve already grown accustomed to?

Chat It Up

Introducing web chat for business. Think of it as a robust layer to online presence that gets you in front of customers and prospects faster than anything else. You already know the benefits of individualized customer service when a customer comes to meet you face to face: It gives you the opportunity to be of service and to sell with the advantage of ongoing engagement.

Web chat provides the same opportunity – by allowing you to meet consumers where they are the moment they are on your website. Any business without web chat defines “you snooze, you lose.”

Strike When the Iron Is Hot

The advantages of having web chat mirror the same principles as the three-second rule in advertising: As a business owner, you have about three seconds (if you’re lucky) to get the attention of your audience – whether it be through an old school print ad, radio or television commercial, pay-per-click channel, etc. Why? Because people have zero attention span. And the attraction of the next great swipe and scroll makes it easy to lose your audience to your competition.

The beauty in adding live web chat to your website is that it provides a vehicle for consumer engagement, bringing a true and unique user experience at the precise moment you have their attention. Moreover, people tend to make purchases when there is an emotional connection between themselves and a product or service.

Sample Sites that Use Web Chat to Increase Sales

Car Dealers

Chapman BMW Chandler Homepage Live Chat Button - ESEO

Retailers

Zappos Homepage Live Chat Menu Feature - ESEO

Food & Beverage

Winedotcom Homepage Live Chat PopUp - ESEOAn unexpected web chat pop-up might not be well received in every instance, but the conversion rates it brings are well worth the annoyance it sometimes invites. But, as you can see in the three examples above, there are various levels of discretion when it comes to offering a chat option on a website.

It’s up to your business (and the tool you choose) if you want the chat to pop up automatically or if you want the user to make the first contact. It will probably take some tinkering (A/B testing, perhaps) to figure out what speaks to your visitors the most.

Brand Recognition Lasts Longer with a Personal Experience

Imagine you’re looking for a pair of jeans. Yes, the search can be a conundrum, and more so when attempting to find the right fit from a website. What are the chances of having to return whatever you purchased? Pretty good, I’d say.

But if you have a web chat available at the time a shopper is looking at a specific item, before they click on a size, the user could ask how the sizes typically run or how much “give” there is to the fabric, for example. Now that buyer has been given accurate information, there is more comfort and trust in the product, and potentially an increase in product purchases and return visits to the site.

One more thing: Every good online experience will be shared with friends or family and followers. It’s amazing what a single, positive consumer transaction can do to build brand awareness, market reach and sales volume. And it can start with a chat.

Consider the Right Time and Space When Adding a Web Chat Feature

Most smart device users don’t need to wait to search for information until they are in front of their desktop or laptop. They seek and find what they need to online the moment the idea strikes them – via cellphone or tablet.

When considering a web chat platform, make sure to include design elements to maximize the user experience for smart devices. This means don’t let the chat pop-up take up too much valuable real estate on the screen. If the pop-up overwhelms the rest of your website content, then you’ve blown any goodwill with the user.

People Think They Know What They Want Until You Tell Them

Not all shopping involves purchasing. There is an art to shopping; some people thrive on it while others avoid it like the plague. Shopping is almost like a romance.

There’s an element of mystery, and when you finally make the decision in wanting to have it (product not people), you pay for it. The frustration is in the decision-making phase.

The Power of Indirect Persuasion

What might be appealing to the eye often differs to its reality, especially in product presentations that exist on the web. Deceptive? Perhaps. But it’s also about how humans perceive them.

We have expectations irrespective of what is real and how we want it to be. Marketers know this phenomenon well, as they’ve witnessed it during focus groups – in rooms filled with people who give their opinions and responses about a product based on what they’ve seen or experienced during the testing session.

What researchers have discovered about human behavior is that what we intellectually say to describe how we feel about something may differ from how our brain and bodies react. It’s called neuromarketing.

People are comfortable with what they already know. But what they don’t know is a web chat manager’s dream and a gateway to nurturing new customers and upselling more product.

Web Chat Is Just One Piece of the Larger Lead-Nurturing Puzzle

See How We Generate Leads

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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How to Build an Aligned Sales and Marketing Strategy

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Sales + Marketing = SUCCESS - Eminent SEO

In this post, I want to explore how and why sales and marketing strategies must align. I also want to share some tools that will help you build, monitor and track your campaigns and marketing ROI.

Who Does Sales and Who Does Marketing?

Generally, a business that doesn’t have an in-house marketing team will look for an agency, such as ours, to partner with. In this scenario, they are the sales team and we are the marketing team. Seems simple enough, right? Sadly, no.

Little Girl Suspicious Look - ESEOYears of working with sales teams both internally and those responsible on the client side has taught me that the roles and responsibilities aren’t always as clear as you’d like them to be.

There’s one more thing: The sales and marketing goals aren’t always aligned.

When misalignment exists, leads slip through the cracks and become lost. While it’s impossible to create THE end-all perfect lead generation pipeline with a 100 percent closing rate, maximizing the full potential of ALL marketing and sales efforts means you’re getting as close to perfect as possible.

The key is through effective communication between both sides.

The Need for an Aligned Sales and Marketing Strategy

The sales team needs to know AND fully understand what kind of performance data the marketing team relies onto measure success, and vice versa.

The marketing team needs to make sure every lead they’ve generated has the capability to seamlessly transition into becoming the sales team’s responsibility to close.

If the teams are using any automated tools, both need to understand how the other side reads the data – and how to use it to maximize efficiency.

According to The Aberdeen Group’s report:

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In 2017, 92% of organizations reported below-average lead conversion rates because of misalignment between their marketing and sales teams. @eminentseo https://www.eminentseo.com/blog/build-aligned-sales-and-marketing-strategy/

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Similarly, the sales teams who were top performers in their field were 76 percent more likely to report a “complete or strong alignment” with their marketing team.

A campaign where both halves understand each other’s differences in roles, responsibilities, goals and overall strategy – and have successfully aligned their efforts in a cohesive manner – will be losing fewer leads overall. That’s a win for both sides.

Tracking Every Customer

I get it, we all want MORE SALES! It’s true, but not all businesses have the ability to track their sales to the source. It’s easy if you’re an eCommerce business and the entire sales transaction happens online.

But, what about the brick-and-mortar stores who are using digital marketing to get people into their shops? I guess you could have the cashier ask them how they heard about you, but in the end, is a handful of responses indicating “Google” as the lead source really going to empower you to make better marketing decisions?

I doubt it.

As marketers, how do we even begin to work toward getting “more sales” if we don’t even know which key performance indicators (KPIs) to focus on?

Marketing Key Performance Indicators

Marketers need DATA! The only way any of us are ever going to provide a client with an accurate lead generation report is to have the proper tools and processes in place.

Typical campaign KPIs we track and report on include:

  • Organic marketing keyword impressions and rankings
  • Website traffic data, per source type (direct, organic, referral, social, paid, etc.)
  • Website traffic trends and user behavior
  • Conversion rates, per type (phone calls, form fills, eBook downloads, chats, subscribers)
  • Off-site marketing conversion rates, per type (email opens, social followers, fan submissions)
  • Marketing platform insights, such as increased page likes and followers
  • Marketing return on investment (ROI)

In order to track these metrics, we use:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Keyword tracking tools
  • Call tracking tools
  • Website and social platform chat tools
  • Platform insights
  • Other paid reporting tools

Sales Key Performance Indicators

These KPIs and reports are certainly useful and important to the sales team. But, among those responsible for conversions, you will hear this time and time again: “We only care about sales”.

Sales can be nearly impossible to track for some businesses without the sales team entering data into the tools. How can your marketing team track sales if they only happen offline?

If you are an addiction treatment center, for example, and you take phone calls as a primary lead source, what happens after the call? Do you make notes in a call tracking system? Then what? Does the “lead” get manually placed into a CRM? Do you have a CRM?

If you are a call-centric business or if your sales cycle isn’t completed entirely online, then you MUST have a CRM.

What is a CRM?

A CRM is a customer relationship management tool. This is where you can house your contacts and manage your leads.

Do I still need to notate my call tracking tool if I have a CRM?

YES! Your CRM will help you manage your leads.

If a lead closes and it came in from a phone call, you should always go back to your call tracking system and enter in the conversion information. This allows the marketing team to export the calls and determine which ones converted into sales…and which ones didn’t.

And not just calls, but the source of the call. Don’t you want to know where your conversions are coming from? Was it the Facebook ad campaign or the email marketing?

By scoring the calls and entering in conversion data, the sales AND marketing teams will know what is and isn’t working.

Website Leads Website Sessions Comparison Report Chart - Eminent SEO

The Difference Between Marketing and Sales Qualified Leads

Now that we all agree the marketing team can’t perform its job without the sales data and input from the sales team, how do we know who is responsible for what?

Marketers generate leads.

Sometimes, however, lead generation focuses on different stages of the buyer’s journey. This means not everyone is ready to BUY NOW.

So, we develop various funnels and lead capture opportunities to catch the various buyers at every stage in the journey.

We then group the leads into two types:

  • Marketing Qualified Leads
  • Sales Qualified Leads

Marketing qualified leads are typically website visitors who downloaded a gated asset, such as an eBook or brochure, in exchange for their email info. They can also be newsletter subscribers, quiz participants, event attendees or webinar signups.

Really, an MQL can be anyone who connected with us and provided contact information, but has not yet requested a call or more information from the sales team.

Sales qualified leads can start as a marketing lead and turn into a sales qualified lead when they explicitly express interest in purchasing.

Similarly, they can start as a sales qualified lead if they:

  • Call
  • Initiate a chat
  • Request more information
  • Fill out a sales form (such as insurance verification, intake form or consultation request)

As marketers, we need a system and the right tools to generate and nurture the marketing qualified leads. We can then convert them into sales leads through a manual process, or we can work with the sales team to align the systems and tools to automate the lead-management process for reduced human error and better lead management overall.

Generally, this system is a CRM.

Marketing and Sales Automation Tools

It might sound complicated, but it’s really not that difficult to manage the tools once you set them up properly and the teams are both trained on how to use them.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one singe tool that will provide the sales and marketing teams with everything they need.

As outlined above, your marketing may rely on several tools to track and report on your multi-channel marketing campaigns.

Today, most of the paid tools open up their API so developers can code integrations. Still, this does require an expert who understands the technical side of things if you want to automate the process.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

You can automate most of the marketing and sales funnel, but there will always be some pros and cons when doing so. Automation tools are pricey and require a professional team to setup and manage.

On the other hand, you can manually manage your leads and save costs on automation tools and supporting marketing materials – but at what cost to your bottom line? How many leads get forgotten when there is no CRM to store and manage them? How much time is wasted manually emailing leads that aren’t qualified for the sales team?

Automation costs more on the front end to set up and manage. But in the long run, you’ll save on:

  • Avoiding human error
  • Automating lead capture
  • Paying an employee to follow up with the unqualified leads
  • Automating lead nurturing
  • Reusing emails and assets in automation campaigns
  • Leveraging the tool data in the marketing strategy development

Even if you decide not to automate, you still need to manage and track your leads. And unless your business gets less than a handful of leads a month and you can manage them in a shared Google document or other free tool, you should consider getting a CRM.

There are free CRMs, such as the HubSpot CRM FREE, that allow you to test using a tool to manage your sales pipeline without making a huge investment into customization and integrations. It’s literally free, forever. We like that.

Free Hubspot CRM Landing Page - ESEO

Creating an Aligned Marketing and Sales Strategy

We begin by outlining all of the marketing channels. This should include both digital and direct marketing sources:

Multi-Channel Marketing Venn Diagram - Eminent SEO

We then like to think through the possible conversion actions, per source. This includes:

  • Calls
  • Chats
  • Downloads
  • Subscribes
  • Likes
  • Messages
  • Submissions
  • Form fills

All of these user actions or conversions are trackable with:

  • Call tracking
  • Chat tracking
  • Website form capture
  • CRM lead capture
  • Social insights
  • Email tools
  • Reporting tools

The sales team is responsible for:

  • Scoring calls
  • Scoring chats
  • Managing sales leads
  • Entering in sales conversion data
  • Providing feedback to the marketing team

The Marketing Team’s Responsibilities

The marketing team is responsible for:

  • Ensuring the tools are set up and integrated properly
  • Monitoring social messages
  • Generating leads
  • Nurturing marketing qualified leads
  • Reporting on marketing and sales KPIs
  • Using sales data in developing the marketing strategies

Marketing keeps the channels up to date with branded assets, such as:

  • Content pages
  • Images and graphics
  • Videos
  • eBooks and white papers
  • Blog posts
  • New landing pages
  • Infographics
  • Quizzes

Marketing also performs ongoing strategy development and campaign management tasks, such as:

  • Organic outreach
  • Guest blogging
  • Email campaigns
  • Paid ads
  • Social engagement
  • Media buys
  • Keyword research
  • Technical SEO
  • Editorial calendar development
  • Competitive analysis

When both sales and marketing agree to the strategy, we upload it into a shared Google doc and privately share it to the various members of the teams. This way, we all have an open, shared document to reference that outlines the marketing channels.

Using a Google doc also makes it easy to add columns for identifying who is responsible for which leads, the tool used, steps in the lead workflow management, and final “house” for the lead once it’s converted (or dead).

Lead And Sales Lifecycle Strategy Google Spreadsheet - Eminent SEO

Defining and Measuring Your Marketing and Sales Goals

Each business is unique. Your service offering, your product, your marketplace, your competition, your history, your mission – these are all defining variables. It’s important for your sales and marketing teams to review all of the data, put the data in context and create a shared short- and long-term set of goals.

You’ll need to review:

  • What your unique value propositions are: What sets you apart from your competition? Why are you special?
  • Who your audience is: Are they searching for your brand or products? Where do they “live” online? Is there a demand for your services?
  • Who your competition is: What are they doing with their website and marketing? What do you have to do in order to compete?
  • Your existing website and digital assets: Are they optimized for the engines and your audience? Do you need a new design as well as marketing materials?
  • What your brand says to the world: Who are you and what is your mission? Does your brand and reputation say “work with me”?

Depending on your overall existing digital footprint, you may need to factor in a bigger budget or a longer amount of time to reach your goals.

Aim for a Mix of Short-Term and Long-Term Victories

It’s possible to speed up the process of lead generation with paid ads and low-hanging-fruit opportunities. The only time these shortcuts wouldn’t apply is with your organic marketing, because there is no amount of money you can spend to speed up the process of building trust within your niche. Trust comes with age, and age comes with time.

With a multi-channel marketing campaign, your goals should be aimed at short-term wins and long-term gains. Even paid ad campaigns take time to mature and gain better quality scores for improved ad placement and click-through rates.

You should aim for month-over-month increases in the important marketing KPIs, but you should estimate marketing ROI for a full campaign on a quarterly or yearly basis.

Goals vs. Objectives

Your goals may be specific desired business results, such as:

  • Adding more sales funnels
  • Automating the sales cycle
  • Gaining a specific percentage of repeat customers
  • Generating a specific number of leads

Whereas, the overall marketing objectives may be broader, such as:

  • Brand awareness
  • Product awareness
  • Fan and social follower growth
  • Marketing lead generation
  • Lowering the cost per acquisition
  • Growing market share
  • Reputation management

Although it may seem like a good idea to target all of these objectives in your strategies, you may want to focus on one or two at a time and create a plan to expand into additional areas as you go.

Setting SMART Goals

Once you’ve developed a strategy and have a clear plan on which marketing objectives you want to focus on, it’s time to create the SMART goals.

SMART marketing objectives are:

  • Specific: The goals are clearly defined and prioritized.
  • Measurable: The goal KPIs are established and tracked.
  • Achievable: The team agrees these goals are within their abilities.
  • Relevant: The goals relate to the overall brand purpose and mission.
  • Time-Bound: The goals have a timeline, milestones and deliverables.

SMART Acronym For Marketing - Eminent SEO

Final Tip: Assign a Leader

We’ve found the sales and marketing teams work best as a functional unit when there is one primary decision maker. Ultimately, the person who makes decisions on budgets, marketing KPI’s, business objectives and sales goals should understand the strategy and be empowered with the correct data to make an informed decision.

Once you’ve established your short- and long-term goals and have a strategy and a team in place, stick with it! The leader should give the team the freedom to work on its individual expertise, but always regroup and share strategy updates with both sales and marketing in order to ensure a continued, cohesive strategy.

Main Takeaways for Building an Aligned Sales and Marketing Strategy

An alignment between your sales and marketing strategies is crucial for generating high-quality leads and better conversions. When there is a failure in alignment, leads get lost in the pipeline; they slip through the cracks and never reach the closing stage.

To ensure alignment:

  • Build a solid line of communication between the teams.
  • Develop and manage one strategy plan with clear processes.
  • Use tools to monitor and track your progress.

If you are just getting started or your sales and marketing teams have already learned how to work independently of each other’s goals, this may sound like an arduous task. However, once the plan is developed, the tools are set up and the teams are communicating well, you will be thankful you took the time to align your marketing and sales strategies. And, better yet, your bottom line will benefit.

Anchorman Jumping Hooray Meme - ESEO

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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6 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Call Tracking to Show Marketing ROI

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Your Business Needs Call Tracking Software - Eminent SEO

You may rely on phone calls to generate leads and sales for your business, but do you know exactly where these calls are coming from? Was it your website that inspired the caller to reach out to you? If so, which page sparked their interest?

What about your traditional ads, like magazine or billboard spots? Do you know exactly how much business each of these advertising assets is bringing in for your company?

You’ll need to know the answer to these questions if you want to unlock the full value of your advertising dollars. Thankfully, this process is more automated today than ever before. No more asking callers where they heard of your business before calling. Instead, you can leverage versatile call tracking software that can be integrated directly into your website.

Why Use Call Tracking Software?

Call tracking can be used to analyze, optimize and grow an organization’s return on marketing investments. An established call tracking platform will make it easy to see what’s working and what’s not.

It should be clear which ad sources are worth the investment – the ones that are generating leads – and which strategies to pull your money out of – the ones that are generating crickets. This analysis ensures that you have the opportunity to direct all of your funds toward the most promising campaigns.

Who Could Use Call Tracking?

Call tracking can be very helpful for businesses of all sizes, from food trucks and mom-and-pop shops to SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) and multinational corporations. Any company that relies on phone communication to provide a major source of revenue can streamline its operations by taking advantage of call tracking.

Your Business Needs Call Tracking Software: 6 Reasons Why

Call tracking provides a long list of benefits to any business that uses it, but we’ve narrowed it down to six of the top reasons, in no particular order, you should consider using this type of software:

Discover Customer and Business Information

Call tracking helps identify peak hours when users interact with your business, as well as how: through organic search, paid ads, local search, social media, etc. The ability to track each consumer’s personal engagement with your brand is an immensely powerful tool for your marketing team.

Additionally, most modern call tracking software programs are designed with the understanding that marketers are interested in collecting detailed demographic information about their callers. It is then up to your company to leverage this data effectively to optimize and improve your marketing strategy.

Monitor Marketing Channel and Campaign Performance

Call Tracking You Must Score Your Calls Ad Sources - Eminent SEOMany call tracking software programs allow you to track calls on multiple levels:

  • Keyword
  • Campaign
  • Multi-channel attribution

Using call tracking software, marketers are able see the keywords that drive the most phone calls and conversions. By being able to identify the keywords that are driving calls, marketers will have more insight for developing content strategies as well as improving engagement for pay-per-click campaigns that are already underway.

Campaign tracking allows you to monitor any type of marketing channel, both online and offline. By using unique phone numbers for each channel, you’re able to see the performance of each channel in real time. This data helps you analyze which lines of communication are reaching your audience most directly.

Since most customers these days interact with a business in multiple ways, multi-channel attribution enables marketers to track the path of a lead through every step of engagement. With information beyond the first and last touch points, this feature paints a clear picture of which specific channels result in conversions – and which ones are bottlenecks in the buyer’s journey.

Review Landing Page and Keyword Data

As online marketers, we recognize the relationship between upward-trending page visits and conversions via mobile search. Since this is a significant source of high-quality traffic, it is vital that we know which keywords result in conversions on mobile. Call tracking software is the perfect tool for answering these questions.

Additionally, the keyword data helps your company to identify trends between search terms and the quality scores of dedicated landing pages.

Assess Call Quality, Customer Service and Sales

Many call tracking software programs provide the ability to record calls. Analyzing this data along with call volumes can help your business make necessary adjustments to boost call and customer-service quality internally.

If you start “scoring” your calls and incorporating personnel development into the call tracking process, then you’re really taking your marketing to the next level. Scoring calls means ranking an employee’s performance, based on their ability to fulfill a designated criteria, such as:

  • Engaging with potential leads
  • Guiding a caller to a purchase
  • Providing information to unqualified leads
  • Responding to callers asking for general info

Recording and scoring calls provides a gold mine of otherwise-missed opportunities to grow your business. Comparing your call volumes, conversation lengths and call-quality trends will help you plan and implement successful marketing campaigns.

Additional examples of data that can be collected through a call-tracking platform includes:

  • Total calls answered
  • Number of calls converted
  • Number and type of outgoing calls made
  • Revenue generated

Measure Marketing ROI and Effectiveness of Your Advertising Campaigns

In all likelihood, you’re already using several tools to manage various aspects of your business – such as email and inbound marketing, contacts through CRM, and team chat. The best call tracking programs will integrate efficiently with the tools you already use. This will help you understand which combinations are performing well and which tools are in need of more support.

Through this integration, you can also learn more about how visitors are interacting with your brand and where they are in the buyer’s journey. In addition, analytics and ROI stats help you measure and attribute engagement and conversion points to specific sources, campaigns or posts.

Comply with Industry Standards

If your business is in the health care field, then you already know the importance of complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Certain call tracking programs are designed to comply with HIPAA, and they will keep your callers’ information secure while protecting your business as well.

Maintaining compliance with HIPAA does not apply to every business, but some organizations will be subject to violations if they start using call tracking software that isn’t HIPAA friendly. Make sure you find the software solution that best suits all of your organization’s specific needs.

Help with Setting Up and Understanding Call Tracking

Call tracking can get pretty complicated, so don’t be shy in asking for help from experienced digital marketers to set up this software and understand how to use it. At Eminent SEO, we rely heavily on call tracking software to understand our clients’ callers and evaluate which ad sources are and are not making an impact on the campaigns. Our team is data driven, so we use call tracking stats to develop custom marketing ROI reports for our clients.

If you’d like to learn more about integrating call tracking software into your website and your other digital tools, we’d be happy to provide direction. Just reach out to us anytime.

Our Tracking and Reporting Approach

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Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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How Businesses Are Wasting Money on Marketing That Doesn’t Work

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Businesses Are Wasting Their Money Marketing That Doesn't Work - Eminent SEO

This is probably the conversation I have the most frequently with marketing industry peers and clients. It is just a repetitive chat; the subject gets people animated, agitated, confused and eyes-bulging, vein-popping frustrated. Why? Because nobody listens.

Here’s one note of caution for starters: If you think you know marketing because of a Google search or two, you don’t know squat!

Marketing and Sales People Are the Biggest Suckers on the Planet

We’re in this conundrum together – because there isn’t one answer on how to do marketing. Instead, it’s essential that you understand the options and how they work together (or fail).

Even with the best industry gurus on your side, watching the SEO analysis month over month and staying current with the latest Google and Facebook algorithm shifts, there are no guarantees that your creative campaigns or media placements are going to work. Depressed yet?

Here’s what I can tell you. Marketing, just like people, shifts. What works today can be gone with the wind of tomorrow’s latest and greatest trend. Yaaass. This business is not for the emotionally thin-skinned. In other words, grow a pair, do some due diligence and have fun.

Beware of Snake Oil Yes Men (and Women) That Guarantee Anything

Recently, I had a client call me on the phone (old school, I know) to share his excitement. He’s got a handful of websites and just got a call from this guy in Chicago who swears he can deliver a branded TV commercial and media placement on 30 some odd stations. Wait for it… all for 1,000 bucks.

You’re laughing, right? It gets better. This guy also says he will guarantee 300 leads, calls that will go directly to my client’s call center.

Remember what I said earlier about there being no guarantees? Yeah. It applies here. So I called the guy in Chicago. I told him that if he wanted to swear to God that 300 leads are guaranteed, it was on him. I wouldn’t bet on that and I don’t think the Lord would appreciate being the brunt of a wager in futility.

How did I call him out? With one easy question: “Can you send me the list of media channels where the commercial will run?” I asked with a snarky smile. He replied, “No.”

This was a sketchy operation with phony leads that would undoubtedly go nowhere. Trust (sort of), then verify. Works like a charm.

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Businesses are wasting money on #marketing that doesn't work because they do not think QUALITY over QUANTITY. They are also thinking about the past instead of evolving.

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Secret Keywords Are Like a Losing Game of Hide and Seek

Ever since Google has been cracking down on those who try to outsmart it (some do so successfully, but it’s temporary) one such solution appears as a “miracle grow” for SEO rankings. Watch out for the companies that say they will boost your presence by using targeted keywords strategically placed and hidden within your fine print of terms and conditions or right-hand-side testimonial content, for example.

Do really you think this is smarter than the peeps and tech that crawl websites for Google? Naw, probably not.

Marketing That Doesn’t Work: More Isn’t Mo’ Better

Marketing Tactics To Use In 2018 Keywords Video Content - Eminent SEOOverconsumption comes by us honestly. We’re Americans. It’s what we do. While some people have an issue with taking in excessive amounts of food, alcohol, drugs, toxic relationships or shoes (yes, shoes), many business owners believe that a handful of websites to represent their product offerings are better than just one.

Moreover, these duplicate (basically that’s what they are) sites house essentially the same content as one another. Not only is this so passé and ineffective; it’s naughty.

Why the marketing tactics mentioned so far don’t work isn’t just about cheesing up our industry standards. Our core audience detests it. Millennials are now the largest group of consumers. If your business doesn’t understand this audience, you might as well hang it up right now.

If you’d rather get a clue as to what you should be doing to get their appeal and more accolades for your product or service, keep reading.

Pander (I Mean Cater) to Your Audience

Millennials can be cruel. Maybe not cruel, but brutally honest. They don’t understand the merits of privacy (thank you MySpace, and now Twitter and Facebook) and believe that everything is subject to discussion, rant and opinion on the web. If your product or service doesn’t cut it, you’ll know, quickly. Here’s what to do to angle it all in your favor.

Invite the Criticism

Take a deep breath. Swallow that lump of insecurity in your throat. Be bold enough on social media to have a unique presence and put posts out there that speak to who you are and what you stand for. Take the heat that comes.

Pay attention; it’s the most inexpensive way to get an understanding of what’s working or not…and it’s ideal for discovering gaping holes of opportunity. Although, social media is not the place for ongoing product pitches. It’s about having a personality and building a following.

Make Millennials Matter

Leveraging the right social media platforms is essential to owning the millennial market. How you position your profiles is even more important. Make sure your content doesn’t talk down to them, as it needs to include them.

Position this audience as instrumental in your success. They must be part of your conversation. If your brand strategy allows them to lead the conversation, that’s golden.

Create the Experience

Product and services aren’t flat surfaces (though many smart devices are pretty close). The world isn’t flat either; it’s full of dimension. Enter marketing and editorial content.

What resonates with people today is a full-bodied experience with your product, service or brand. It taps on the emotion, the most powerful place your marketing can target. People may not remember what you said or did, but it’s how you made them feel that matters.

Provide Information That’s Unique and Individually Topical

The definition of an information junkie = millennial. From their childhood, web surfing was the only way to get the answers they needed. Ask a question of their parents, and “Google it” was the go-to response. As such, the information you put out must be accurate, relevant and thought-provoking, which gives them a reason to investigate further (they will) and respond.

Build Your Brand with Integrity That Is Globally Relevant

Long gone are the days where providing a free product offering would win over potential customers. Today’s consumers are cynical, and for good reason. With the onslaught of cyber theft and security breaches, people understand that if it says it’s free, there’s probably a cost.

If your product or service doesn’t provide global impact by its very existence, then your company brand should. If it doesn’t – to a millennial – you don’t exist.

Top 6 Marketing Angles Worth the Expense

Sales, web development and marketing firms will try to entice you into needing what they offer. With all the choices, it’s difficult to discern between necessity and fluff. Use this list of must-haves to position the marketing of your business well.

2018 marketing angles that work:

  • Quality content – original copywriting and optimized alt tags for imagery should rank organically
  • Video often – boosts viewership and experiential marketing
  • Cause marketing – brands your business with emotional substance
  • Niche campaigns – all media outlets, segment your audiences
  • Embrace the screens – use cross-channel marketing to increase impressions
  • Long-phrase keywords – catches the low-hanging fruit of search engines

Final Thought on Marketing to Your Audience

Not every business can claim millennials as its target audience. True. However, early adapters of web use and the culture of instant gratification aren’t merely for the young. This is how every generation under 65 years of age consumes.

Today, we are all millennials. Your marketing efforts need to align with our new, collective behavior.

See How to Appeal to Generation Z Online

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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A/B Testing Cracks the Code of Online Intelligence

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A-B Testing Code Of Online Intelligence - Eminent SEO

Digital marketing is a wide-open, challenging space. For business owners, advertising and editorial campaigns are the fruit of sales initiatives meant to entice audiences and feed their hunger for products or services. Will they bite? It depends – on a lot of unknowns.

Marketing plans, in their infancy, are like seedlings: tiny, thought-provoking concepts that require warmth, love and attention to reach their full potential.

In the earliest stages of development, online presence is a collaborative process using the talents of web developers, content strategists, graphic designers, writers and more. There many human touchpoints along the way, though each embraces a common fear: the unknown.

Who is our audience?
What if our brand has no appeal?
What if the messaging is off target?
What do customers care about today, tomorrow or at 6:32 p.m. on Thursday night?

With the best marketing director, creative director and product managers that money can buy, no marketing campaign can bank on success before it happens. How do you know what creative strategy and market positioning is guaranteed to work? You don’t. But here’s where you’ll find the clues.

The Benefits Behind A/B Testing

A-B Testing Nutures Your Baby - Max Monster Egg - ESEOIf you’ve never considered adding A/B testing to your marketing plan execution, it will provide more clarity than you might think. A/B testing could also bring more questions to light, but there’s clarity in that too.

Time efficient? Cost effective? Boosts ROI? Definitively.

Perhaps you’ve tried A/B testing before but weren’t happy with the results. Isn’t that the point though?

Digital A/B testing measures more of what you need to know and streamlines marketing efforts. It forces you to delve deeper into the details of your product or service offering, audience, brand and goals. A/B testing allows creative ideation to meet with user reality – and that’s the sweet spot.

There are added benefits to ongoing A/B testing as it helps you keep a pulse on your audience and if or when your business garners relevance.

Online Marketing Without A/B Testing Is Like Target-Shooting Blind

Doing digital A/B testing measures more of the efficacies in new product or service launches and is highly recommended, even for a soft launch. Unless you’d rather bite your nails to the quick, suffer from a bad case of insomnia, take your chances on performance, and pray you still have a job when the campaign goes sideways.

Your vision for success is only as clear as the ability to target succinctly and deliver. Everything else is noise. A/B campaign rolling is the only fair and true test to measure creative messaging and audience engagement.

Know-It-Alls: Digital A/B Testing Measures More than Ego

There’s a sanctity in “being right.” Coming up with award-winning creative messaging might get you kudos from your industry peers but if it doesn’t convert your audience to act, it is so wrong.

Business-minded narcissists and braggarts can use the A/B online platform to measure just how right they are. But digital A/B testing measures more than ego. When ideas align with A/B measured results, you show a knack for marketing intuitiveness and then have just cause to say, “I told you so.”

A/B Test Everything, Often

As consumer wants and needs change with the tide of online influences, so too should your marketing outreach. What works in the summer of 2017 will most likely vary greatly from what works the winter of 2018. A/B testing allows you to stay current and top-of-mind.

To better understand the basic process of A/B testing, use the following steps as a mental illustration.

A/B Testing Mental Process:

  1. Pick a product or service
  2. Decide what you’re testing for
  3. Forecast the right answer/approach (ego ergo here)
  4. Predict the anticipated response
  5. Live with the truth and consequences
  6. Adjust where needed
  7. Test again

The knowledge you can acquire through A/B testing is astounding. You can even generate love, at first sight.

A/B Testing Gives You a Second Chance at First Impressions and More

A-B Tests Can Measure Audience Design CTAs - Eminent SEOIt’s been said that you can never get a second chance at making a good first impression. With A/B testing, you can in five seconds.

The right messaging entails many variables. Focus on who will receive the messaging, and that should dictate design and layout, colorization, verbiage and tone, and the call-to-actions applied.

With A/B testing, you can alter any single aspect of your messaging to discover what works best.

If you’re not sure of who your target audience is or if your business has multiple types of consumers and prospects, A/B testing is the perfect forum to segment your market reach through:

  • Demographics
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Education
    • Average household income
  • Psychographics
    • Personality
    • Values
    • Opinions
    • Attitudes
    • Interests
    • Lifestyles
  • Geotargeting

It’s a Matter of Time

Keep in mind that some user behavior is a direct result of predictable timing. You can use this to your advantage during A/B testing.

For example, industries that are entertainment-centric would probably fare better by marketing on Thursdays when consumers are thinking about the weekend. If your luxury product offering might appeal to middle America, A/B test its marketability within two days of the 15th or 30th of the month (paydays).

Finding Value in Pricing

Price points can dictate a do-or-die success rate for a product launch or rebrand campaign. To get a better idea of what monetary number consumers will accept or reject as a purchase point, explore your options with A/B testing.

Use the other elements of measurability:

  • Messaging
  • Audience
  • Timing
  • How they create a consumer’s perceived value

This type of value is then weighted against competitors’ offerings, product benefits, misgivings and price.

Choose focal points that promote your value and segment them within the A and B rollout. Note the psychology behind numbers and how they affect human behavior. For most people, $39.99 is more pleasing than a $40.00 price point.

SEO Makes It Easier on You and Your Audience

Why not give consumers what they’re searching for? If they don’t know you exist, how can they find you? Instill A/B varied keyword campaigns to find out what people are looking for. You’ll gain important insights as to what consumers want and how they look for it online.

A Good Approach Sets Up a Smooth Landing

Pay-per-click ads and social media posts aren’t the only places that A/B testing can prove to be constructive. As long as you’re evaluating the strength of the initial ad or post, complete the campaign assessment by A/B testing the corresponding landing pages.

Use the same seven-step mental process shown earlier in this article as a guide to formulate variances in landing pages. You may want to do two sets of the testing, A/B and A/B, to measure the performance of banner designs, headlines or call-to-actions.

To read more about A/B testing and other optimization tips for landing pages, click the button below:
Read 8 Tips for PPC Landing Pages

The Patience and Virtue of 90 Days

A-B Tests Take 90-Plus Days For Results - Eminent SEOIt might be asking a lot of anyone to exercise patience in the creation, execution and measurement of digital content. Consider this: Just because user behavior indicates impulsivity at a click or swipe doesn’t mean the artists behind the content should be just as reactionary, though the attraction to do so is understandable.

Let’s say you’ve worked hard on every aspect of a given product launch. You launch the online campaign. You’re not getting the anticipated results, even with A/B testing.

Give it time. Oh the difference 90 days can make to judge marketing effectiveness, engagement and conversion rates.

Consumers’ interests ebb and flow with pop culture trends, seasonal changes, employment adjustments and the best reason of all: just because. Your business representation online should be solid. If your digital presence shifted as quickly as consumer interest, you’ll find that it’s hard to tell what’s working and what isn’t. It might feel as though you’re spitting into the wind. Only you know where that spit’s been.

Give your current marketing campaigns three months to season. If they’re not bringing you the results you’d hoped for, there’s no reason to start from scratch. Make small changes to what you already have, then A/B test again and run those versions live for another 45 days.

A/B Testing Refines Virtual Imperfections

In the quest for perfection, we tend to home in on the details of marketing initiatives and adjust them, based on measured performance. No matter how diligent you are about using A/B testing, there is one truth that cannot be changed and must be accepted:

User behavior is measured; human behavior is not.

The intuitiveness about online use provides the data needed to structure marketing campaigns. The quirkiness of human behavior cannot be adequately measured as it comes from individual thoughts, emotions and dreams that flow with changes in personal life circumstances.

Is there an A/B test available to measure that? Technology moves mountains…

Great A/B Testing Is Born with Purpose

Marketing content at its finest should inform, entice and draw engagement to elicit brand awareness, customer loyalty and commerce (direct, deferred and referred).

A/B testing isn’t meant to replace original campaign strategy or ideology, but to measure or tweak it. Based on performance numbers, your strategy, positioning and content can be realigned.

Imagine how much more your business could thrive, faster, by partnering with a one-stop digital shop that knows how SEO and creative content work best, collectively, from day one.

A/B Test Us

Avatar for Melanie Stern

Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

More Posts

Follow Me: