Blog

Adwords call and local extensions changes

It's official

Google has announces that starting June of 2015 Adwords will require verification of ownership for all call extension and location extension phone numbers. Call extensions and location extensions that do not meet this policy will be disapproved. Those of you that currently take advantage of these great extensions within Adwords please be aware that in order to comply with this new policy you'll need to provide proof that the phone numbers associated with your ads are also associated with the business promoted in your ads. For most, this shouldn't require any changes to your site or ad's since the primary mechanism for verification is just to scan your website and match up the phone numbers. However if your phone number on your website happens to be part of an image then it will not be recognized and your extensions will be disapproved. Click here to check out the full details regarding this policy change. 

If your not taking advantage of call and location extension or sitelinks within Google Adwords your business is missing out on a great way to attract visitors and best of all it's really easy to get started. If you have any questions please let us know and we'd be happy to help

You have traffic now what?

In my previous post I presented a strategy to drive traffic to a companies web presence using a combination of original and curated content. So now that you have the traffic what do you do next? Well, that depends on your business. Good news is since you spent the time earlier getting to know your customer personas from a content perspective you can reuse this information to ensure that you’re providing the right content to the user at the right time.

Marketing Assets

Marketing assets can be thought of as anything that has value to the user. Typically these include white papers, data sheets, ebooks, price lists, etc. Since these have intrinsic value to the user there’s an expectation that the user will need to provide something in order to access this content. This is where the landing page comes into play. A landing page is simply a page on your website that users are directed to when they click on a button (call to action) or a link. The page consists of some basic copy and a web form that the user will submit to access the content. The landing page offers an opportunity for the company to begin the engagement process. Don’t overlook this step by simply expecting the user will fill out your form, this is often where your users will exit your site. Use this opportunity to present the value of your company and to assure the user that they’re identity will be protected (i.e. you’re not going to sell their email address). Depending on your business process this is also an opportunity to educate the user on what comes next (i.e. a specialist will contact you in 2-3 business days to….).

Forms

Lead Nurturing process Click to enlarge A critical step in creating your landing pages is what fields to put on your form. Think less is more here as you don’t want to ask too many questions, remember this is often the beginning of the engagement process with this user so only ask for what you need to get to the next step.

Conversions

Now you’re cooking, using your engaging content – white papers, videos, ebooks to generate conversions. Now it’s time to get to work taking those content generated leads and nurturing them into qualified sales opportunities and customers. There are a number of excellent Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms available from salesforce.com, Zoho CRM, Method etc. and marketing automation platforms from Hubspot, Pardot, Marketo, etc. each provides an interface to gather the incoming leads from your landing pages. These platforms as well as the email marketing platforms like Mail Chimp and Constant Contact offer lead nurturing options that allow an organization to map out their nurturing workflow.

As you can see from the diagram above it’s important that you leverage the right content at the right stage in the workflow to provide the user what they need to move towards the desired conclusion. Throughout the workflow you’ll also have the opportunity to collect additional information from the user to aid in the nurturing process. This example is very simplistic and not all nurturing workflows are linear but by taking the time to map out your customer personas and your nurturing workflows you’ll be well equipped to turn your web properties into lead generation engines.

5 Steps to a successful content curation strategy

I've spent the last several years looking at ways to generate sales leads through social media with varying degrees of success. One approach that has consistently delivered leads is using curated content to augment social networking and blog posts. I think everyone has said something to this effect as one point in time regarding social media or blogging:

  • I can't generate enough content
  • I don't have time to generate that much content
  • I don't have anything interesting to say.

No question this is one of the tougher problems to solve when it comes to embracing social media. The good new is that you don't have to go it alone. content curation Content curation is a process where an individual or an application screens content from social networks, blogs, websites, etc. in search of high quality content that meets certain criteria. Once the content is identified then the user simply creates a blog or social media posts that comments on the points within the original story. The end result is your able to provide a valuable service to you customers / followers by sharing something that is most likely going to be of interest to them and by adding your commentary your able to demonstrate thought leadership in that area.

5 Steps to a successful content curation strategy

  1. Know your audience - I can't stress this enough, before you start looking for high value content you have to know what your audience is interest in. Define your customers, your markets and your companies overall culture and associate these traits with the personas your looking to reach. The good news is this exercise will help you learn a lot about your customers and you'll also have the criteria that you'll needs to find great content.
  2. Create a schedule - Create at least a three month content schedule for all your postings / newsletters, etc. and keep it up to date this will help drive the process and allow you to stay on track. The schedule should include the personas your marketing to, the channels you're using and any campaigns that the content is linked to. The schedule is also a critical artifact to leverage as your doing your analysis on the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy.
  3. Find your voice - This might seem like the easy part but it's something that you should consider very carefully as it's critical that you stay consistent in your comments. Convention has it that you should only use around 100 words from the original article and your comments should be more than a 100 words so you'll want to be sure to cherry pick the best quotes from the original article. Then it's your turn to demonstrate your knowledge through the commentary. Keep in mind that your audience can get this content from anywhere but they're looking specifically for your take.
  4. Market your marketing - Now that you have this great content that you've curated and commented on share it with your networks, but don't stop there. Encourage your followers to share it with their networks this will enable you to get new followers and ultimately new leads and customers.
  5. Review the numbers - The last step in a successful content strategy is unfortunately not always followed. Use your analytic's to inform your strategy, figure out what's working and what's not and make changes.

Although it may look like a lot of work to nail down your content curation strategy, it's worth it as you will begin to see the benefits very quickly.

Know thy buyer

Content marketing produces about 3 times as many leads

per dollar as paid search but getting those leads requires knowing your audience. Let's looks at the real estate market, research show that 90% of home buyers use the internet to search for their home. So it stands to reason that search based marketing would be an effective means to generate real estate leads, but research also shows that 78% of people like to get to know a company through compelling content rather than ads. 

So we know that compelling content is the way to go but how do we get there.

Know your audience

Before you run off an create great content it pays to identify the buyers you're looking to target, otherwise you might create awesome content but not awesome leads.  Let's look at real estate again, home buyers and sellers represent a very diverse group in particular when looking at age. Age is a great place to start when creating categories since the buyer needs of the late baby boomer (ages 48-57) are significantly different from that of generation X (ages 33 - 47). 

Let's dive into what a late baby boomer buyer persona might look like.

Background information

Interested in purchasing a second home as a vacation destination. Don't want to spend a lot of money since it's not their primary residence.

Facts

  • 19% of late boomers compromised on the homes they purchase
  • 32% plan to live in their homes for 16+ years
  • 21% have a second home
  • 13% have owned investment properties

Now that you have your personas set you'll want to look at you inventory and to see how it relates to your various personas. In this case let's assume that your housing market has some vacation homes that are in need of repair or in foreclosure this would be a great time to write blog titled " 5 questions to ask when buying a vacation home out of foreclosure". The end result will be a compelling piece of content that highlights your knowledge of the market and you'll be able use it again and again to generate leads.  

It will take some upfront time to get your personas set but its time well spent that will result in more leads and more deals.