How to Design an Effective Opt-in Page

Sometimes called a squeeze page, designing an effective opt-in page is an important part of converting all your traffic from leads to customers. If you don’t have a high converting squeeze page, you’ll miss out on a lot of new customers no matter how much traffic is sent your way.

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Target the Right Audience

If you’ve done your research then you’ve chosen a specific persona or target audience in which to direct your opt-in page. You cannot build an effective opt-in page if you’re trying to target more than one type of person with your content. Reducing the number of people you appeal to, rather than trying to attract a broader audience, may sound counterintuitive. But the truth is, the more laser targeted your opt-in page, the better. Don’t worry; you can create more than one.

Example: You guest blog for XYZ blog. In your bio box you include a link to a special squeeze page, instead of sending that unique audience to the same generic squeeze page as everyone else.

Craft Excellent Design

Designing a squeeze page requires an understanding of color palettes as well as how people read online. Online, people scan from top to bottom rather than reading from left to right when they first see the page. Keep that in mind and ensure that you have excellent navigation, with fewer choices than a typical website, and that the colors are easy on the eyes. A light background with darker lettering and a color palette of three to four colors is your best choice. It’s nice if your opt-in page matches the product that you’re selling.

Create a Strong Headline

When it comes to squeeze pages, headlines matter. If you use an overly clever headline, some people will be put off by it. If you choose a headline that is direct, to the point, and tells in a nutshell what this page is about, you’ll develop trust quickly from your readers. The headline must address the interests (or problem) of the target audience, be good news to them (you’re going to solve their problem), pique their curiosity (hook them in), and make it all simple, easy, and fast that also saves them something like time and money.

Add in an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Whether it’s a free offer, or a paid offering, make the deal so good that they can’t refuse. If you’ve targeted your audience in an appropriate way, the offer will resonate with them. Moving them from lead to subscriber will help you build your list so that you can provide value to them later, and over time. Make it clear about the value you will provide them, the problems you’ll solve, and the advantages of being a member of your list or buying your products.

Create Obvious CTA Buttons

Your sign up buttons, or buy buttons, need to be very obvious. You can create awesome sign up forms with Aweber, and Buy Now Buttons using Amember.com, Clickbank.com, and other services. Using the available software, the fewer fields you have in your form, the more likely you are to get someone to sign up. Your call to action (CTA) is very important and needs to be clear to your audience. Your buttons can say something aside from “submit,” “buy now,” or “subscribe”. You can make them say more such as “Give me my free video now”, or “Hell yea, I want my free eBook.” Whatever text or message your audience will respond to is what should be on your buttons.

Create Responsive Opt-in Pages

Today, people access the Internet via mobile devices more than they do personal computers. What a shame if your opt-in pages won’t work on mobile devices. By using responsive design and tools that allow for responsive design, you can avoid those issues. After all, you only have one chance, and only a few seconds, to get your audience’s attention and trust. Don’t lose them due to this issue.

Don’t Forget the Download / Thank You Page

The design you create for your download or thank you page should be as thought out as your opt-in page. Every aspect of the process should be very well thought out with your audience in mind.

Create a Pretty URL

Many times a squeeze page will have its own domain name, or you can create it as a new page on your website then use domain masking to save on hosting fees.

This works like this: Create a new page on one of your websites to house the opt-in page, so the URL might look like this:

Yourdomainname.com/offeryoucantrefuse. This isn’t that pretty.

Instead you can spend 10 bucks on a new domain name – one that represents the list or product you’re selling – then using the procedures right where you create your domain name, such as GoDaddy to mask the look of the domain without paying for additional hosting. Just go in and paste the link to your opt-in page by clicking manage domains > nameservers > manage >add forwarding. Then paste in the URL that leads to your opt-in page, then choose “forward with masking.”

Now when someone clicks the link to your opt-in page they will see what looks like a dedicated website, which often is perceived as more professional. You can also use a shortening service like bitly.com or Google URL Shortener.

Finally, practice makes perfect. Test out different opt-in pages, different forms, different buttons, and different headlines to find out what works best for your audience. Keep track of the metrics so that you can analyze what works.

Appearing To Do The Right Thing is The Wrong Thing in Branding

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confusedHow many companies can you think of that tout customer service, great pricing, guarantees and transparency? They supposedly embrace social media and pretend to get the benefit of the web. They absolutely want their customers to know they love them. They expend a great deal of time and money trying to convince the great unwashed that they are the genuine article. They appear to be doing all the right things. The tricky word here is “appear.”

They appear to be doing all the right things.

Like any brand, it’s not enough to “appear” to be doing anything. To do so would be a HUGE injustice to your stakeholders. I can’t tell you the number of companies who tell me they’re on Linkedin but haven’t the faintest idea what to do there. They’re there because, “everybody told them they’ve got to be there.” They tout customer service because that’s what everyone wants right? Sure – but ask them what they do to facilitate great customer service and the real truth is, it’s written on the website and brochure but there are no systems in place to deliver.
Saying it seems to be enough. Ask anyone what differentiates them and most will say, “our customer service.” I’ve experienced this first hand. Being a branding guy, you can appreciate this is one of the first things I want to know about when first exposed to a new company in a networking situation or some other venue.

My favourite was one guy who had a guarantee on his marketing. His tout was, “Great service – guaranteed!” Wow! Two promises in one line. I asked him what was the guarantee if he failed to deliver great service. He said in all seriousness, “They can go somewhere else.” Now that’s shallow. That’s what you get if he fails!? Maybe he should reword his position and tell the truth – Satisfaction guaranteed or you can go somewhere else.” Are you sold? This guy wasn’t trying to be a smart ass. He genuinely believed that his guarantee was justified.

It “appeared” to do the right thing. No risk, no expectation to sacrifice should he fail at his promise to deliver. Thank heavens for the brand. Since it’s your reputation, the brand indirectly protects the public from less than ethical businesses. It’s no wonder most purchases are made on the recommendation of friends and colleagues. It’s one of the reasons why social media is so effective at defending and advocating great brands. Screw up and suffer the wrath of social media. “Appearing” be embracing social media shows a major weakness with this scenario.

If you want your brand to flourish and stand for more than what you do, it’s time to stop appearing to do something and start participating in it. Have a brand strategy that uses all channels to push your brand. This is taking control of your brand. Seems like an obvious statement doesn’t it? It’s a simple statement that’s for sure, but it comes with a large commitment. To control your brand you must put out a ton of effort. Sometimes it’s going to feel thankless. It will absolutely define your brand. There is an alternative however – and that’s to “appear” to be doing something. Nobody but your competition will thank you for that move.

Your competition LOVES to define what your brand stands for. They’ll thank you and all they ask in return is a little market share.

It appears to be you move.

8 Steps to Creating a Compelling “About Us” Page

When someone clicks through to your “about us” page they’re looking to connect to you in a completely different way than if they click on any other page of your website. They are genuinely seeking to know how your company can solve their issues or fulfill a promise made. They want to see what makes your company (and you) tick.

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Your about page is a balancing act that requires you to focus on your target audience even while you are talking about yourself and your business. It depends upon your ability to speak with humility while understanding the words that your audience wants to read. In addition, crafting a compelling about page necessitates the use of just the right words that trigger your audience’s emotions; making them smile, cry and laugh.

Tell Your Story  

The content on your about us page is very important. Sadly, it’s often created once and never looked at again. Most about pages include a title, content about the business, images, social media links, and a way to contact you. But, the about us page is a huge opportunity to tell your story. Use this space to tell your entire story in such a way that it puts the audience first.

For instance: You don’t “Create Widgets or Perform XYZ Service” instead you  are passionate about saving your customer time or thrilled when you bring people together and create solutions to problems. If you focus the story about the solutions you provide and the problems you solve for your audience you’ll be able to tell your story in a way that resonates most with them.

Show Your Story

The great thing about the web is that you don’t simply have to tell your story, you can show them with examples and stories of other clients and customers within your about page that helps tell different parts of your story. Using testimonials can make your about page become more interesting and compelling. Weave the stories throughout the page, or make a special section for customer stories.

Additionally, a very important copywriting technique to learn is the idea of showing not telling. You want the reader to experience your story through their senses in such a way that they actually can feel what you feel and even smell what you smell. Include enough detail in your writing to evoke those feelings by using words that the audience will resonate with. To truly show your story you have to have an intimate understanding of your audience and use that understanding through the content you include on your about page.

Use Strong Images

Graphics, photography and even video can add to or take away from your about page. You don’t want images to distract your reader, but you do want the images to relate to and further explain what you are sharing. Share images of yourself, your staff, and even your location if it’s relevant. Also share images of the product or the results of the service.  The more you use the right images to impart information on your about page, the clearer your message will become.

Differentiate Yourself

Use your about page to further differentiate yourself from your competition. Study your competitions’ about pages. What do they include, exclude, and what type of words do they use? How do you feel when you read it? How does the information provided match up with the product and / or services they offer? How can you be different and show your differences through your about page?

Connect With Your Audience

Many business owners make a big mistake with their websites. They make it difficult for visitors to connect with them.  Include your social media network links on your about us page, as well as your contact information. Put that information on the page in such a way that visitors will not miss it.

Aside from connecting that way, ensure that the words that you use connect you with your audience. While you will include some sales page elements into your about page in the form of the story you tell, it is not a sales page. The people who visit want to know who you are, and why you do what you do for customers more than they want to know exactly what you do.

Collect Information

Never miss an opportunity to collect leads. The end of your about us page is an excellent area to put a newsletter sign up form. Make it an unimposing offer to learn more and stay up-to-date about your company.  If people liked what they read, they’re likely going to want more information, so you want to catch these leads while they are feeling connected to you. Follow up immediately.

Point to Resources & Further Reading

Your about page is also a great place to point your readers to other information on your site. Do not point them away from your website by linking to affiliates products, or even your own products and services. Instead, link them to more information that is about your business such as press releases, informative blog posts, spotlights on other websites or “as seen in” other publications.  If it’s positive news about the company or you or members of your team, it should be on your about us page.

 Update it Often

The biggest missing element in any about page is the fact that was mentioned at the start of this article. Most people create their about page and never look at it again. It’s important that as your business grows, and you learn more about your audience and you help more people, that you update your about page. You don’t need to update it often, but a yearly refresher should be highly considered.

Your about page can help your audience relate to you in such a way that they feel trusting enough to connect, and maybe even spend money with you. Creating a good one is an art that cannot be overlooked. You can learn the art with practice, patience and persistence. If you find that you’re having issues creating an effective about us page, consider working with a professional to ensure that you leave no stone unturned.

Brand Strategically: How To Tell When Your Graphic Designer Doesn’t “Get” Branding

Brand Strategically-060514There’s a great deal of discussion these days in regard to branding and re-branding. Typically branding is seen to be the domain of the big players in the marketplace. But what was formerly thought to be only available to them is now available to the rest of us – small and medium size enterprises (SME’s) who wish to use strategy to win. They are intrigued that they can absolutely succeed through taking a leadership position. SME’s turn to graphic designers to facilitate their “branding.”

It’s this writer’s opinion that a good percentage of graphic designers see branding or re-branding as nothing more than changing the logo and marketing materials – visual solution. The reasons SME’s have for needing branding typically have very little to do with visuals per se. Many are searching for a solution to flat sales, low moral, changing culture, up-dating of positioning, expansion , succession and any number of business issues. If you’re looking to have branding done properly, I’d recommend working with a firm that has a proven branding process that strategically looks at your brand and can develop strategies that position it as the leader in its category. If the graphic designers you’re speaking to only mention logo and marketing materials – hike up your britches and run like hell.

Avoiding these designers is imperative because they simply don’t “get” branding. They think it’s too complicated and frankly don’t have the confidence and expertise to deliver the real article so they deliver what they do have confidence in – a visual solution only. The unqualified designer will view a strategic, process-driven approach as counter-intuitive. I’m guessing it won’t to you when you understand that strategy is what the visual solution is based on. An experienced branding expert will deliver a strategic and visual solution together as an overall deliverable. Experiencing this properly allows you the customer to appreciate the value delivered. When delivered to your branding team, a qualified designer now becomes an integral strategic partner to your business. They will be able to assist you in not only developing a leading brand but also assist and facilitate launching it effectively.

Look for and demand that a branding process be utilized. A branding process allows everyone on your team to easily understand what is taking place. Your Team may not be used to things like branding, design and strategic brainstorming. A process allows everyone to see the deliverables as they emerge. They get that something comes next and over time builds into something very powerful and motivating. If you as an SME have experience in things like compliances, ISO and industry standards then a branding process with its validation components will make perfect sense to you with you.

As with anything an SME does to improve their business, it’s important to get it right the first time. Branding is no different. If you find it daunting to walk yourself through it, then it will benefit you to bring in qualified assistance. I’ve been branding companies for a while now and every time i facilitate the process with a business’s branding team, establishing a dominate position in their category has more impact than a slogan or a new logo. It reaches deep into the culture of the company and reflects the core values in it boldness. If branding is something you’re investigating but would enjoy some research in the matter, I’d recommend the book, “Blue Ocean Strategy” to help understand why positioning is the key deliverable from any certified branding expert.

For more information on how designers can work with a branding process, or for designers wanting to up their game and deliver a genuine branding experience, check out these two comprehensive brand training programs: “How to Talk About Branding,” and the Brand Academy Certification Workshop.
Designers should also catch the no-cost webinar, “How to Make $20,000 to $50,000 on Your Next Branding Project“.

How to Write Effective Product Descriptions to Capture More Sales

Understanding Your Sales Model

For all the talk about the best ways to shift traditional sales models and techniques to the online world, there’s one important aspect you always need to keep in mind. In contrast to a traditional brick and mortar store, an online customer can’t really look at the product you’re selling – they can see pictures of it, but they can’t actually pick it up in their hands and look at it directly.

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This is why it’s absolutely essential that you effectively tell them about what you’re selling. You accomplish this by writing solid product descriptions for every item you sell on your website. Here are some tips for writing the most effective product descriptions possible.

Your Product Must Be Good For the Buyer.

Don’t waste your prospect’s attention span talking about why your product is so good, or why it’s better than anything else on the marketplace. Isn’t this exactly the same as what your competitors would say about their own products? Instead, explain to your prospect why the product or service you’re selling is the best solution for them. A potential customer isn’t looking for the product that’s the best in an abstract sense; they’re interested in buying what’s going to be best for their individual situation.

You Need to Identify Your Customers.

Of course, in order to explain why your product is the best for a particular person, you need to understand more about that person. This includes not only identifying your ideal customer in terms of their general demographics, but also making sure to measure everything you can about the actual individuals who come to your product page. There are various ways to accomplish this, including Google Analytics, and customer signup where you ask them for key bits of information about themselves.

Write For Your Customer.

Chances are you take SEO considerations into account when you write your blog posts and other information on your business website (and if you don’t then you probably should be). After all, if a prospect never finds your site, there’s no chance they’ll ever become a customer. But scale back your SEO practices when it comes to your product descriptions. You want your descriptions to do the best job possible in connecting with a prospect, even if the text of the description doesn’t boost your SEO ranking.

Quantify and Evaluate Your Product Descriptions.

How do you know if your written product descriptions are doing the job? You can’t necessarily assume that they’re as good as possible just by the fact that you’re actually making sales. After all, maybe your sales figures would be even higher if your descriptions were better.

The best way to evaluate the effectiveness of your product descriptions is to quantify them. Track your sales figures (both in terms of absolute numbers of sales as well as your conversion percentages), then tweak your product descriptions to see what types of descriptions lead to more sales.

Presentation Matters.

Finally, it’s important to understand that it’s not just the text of the product description that matters – how you present it to a prospect matters as well. Would a different font or font size lead to more sales? Should the text be placed in a different position on your product page? What about the colors you’re using on other parts of that product page?

Again, you can only be confident that you’re providing the most effective sales pitch to your prospects when you measure your sales figures and test against other options.

The Convenient Entrepreneur

Branding[Entrepreneur] according to Webster’s dictionary one who undertakes a business venture, taking both control and risk.

I would add to that – a commitment to one’s vision or dream. When you decide to put up that shingle, you’re making a promise to yourself and your customer to work in the best interest of both. In this world economy of ours many people found themselves out on the street for the first time in their careers through no fault of their own. Streamlining, down-sizing – whatever the cause has had a lot of people “re-inventing themselves.” You may have noticed a plethora of coaches, consultants, gurus, agents of change and what ever moniker these discarded individuals hoist upon their shoulders. Don’t get me wrong – there are a great many who are the genuine article and come with their guidance, a rich portfolio of wisdom. BUT, there there are many who lay claim to being something they’re not.

In your community, you see them everywhere. Individuals who love the idea of “entrepreneur” but lack the gumption and commitment to walk the walk. When they worked as an employee they may have envied the entrepreneur and even envied their “freedom” or perceived freedom. They answer to themselves (or so they thought). A true entrepreneur is the hardest working person in the room. They recognize that it’s not about who’s the boss. Their motivation is not simply the money but the satisfaction. They weather the risk and some even thrive in its uncertainty. An entrepreneur is a unique individual.

You see the cracks in psuedo-entrepreneurs very easily. They are the ones are looking for the short-term solutions. They are the ones who book meetings at their convenience. These are the people go into business and wait for the customer to somehow grace their door steps. They are the individuals who quit at 5:00pm, using (balance) as an excuse. The worst offence is these are the people who profess to love their business but secretly yearn that someone will come forth and offer them a full-time job with benefits. This is a dangerous individual. Companies that hire their ‘expertise’ are thrown to the curb at the first job offer. Instead of looking for opportunities to grow their businesses they try to play all the angles to minimize risk. The best way to minimize risk in business is to work harder and focus on your core competency. If that competency is being a great employee then focus on that and be the best employee there is. Businesses need great employees. They don’t need opportunists. They’re hard to rely on. Employees should do what they do best and that’s work for the visionaries. Be a great follower.

If you are the leader and are having a hard time with it – get out there more. Network – meet people who are making it happen . Talk to them, read about them. See what makes them get up in the morning. Try new things, put yourself in situations out of your comfort zones. Align yourself with individuals that you admire. Avoid negative people who will bring you down. Consciously try and stay positive and provide positive vibes to those around you. Start a mastermind group of brilliant business people who love the concept of sharing.

As Webster’s states – ‘…take control and risk.’ Stay true to yourself and you’ll end up where you ought to be. Pretending causing confusion and opportunities that should be yours avoid you until you are clear in your intentions.

5 Metrics to Make Your Digital Marketing Outperform

A confusing state that pre-occupies the mind of small business owners is whether to direct or not to direct their digital marketing strategy. As in most cases executives delegate it to the IT and marketing teams, but they do not like their way of handling.

5 Metrics to Make Your Digital Marketing Outperform

So, should we direct or should we delegate?

When you delegate every aspect of digital marketing to IT and marketing firms, then you have to depend on their vision. And that makes your business dependable on the data provided by the IT firms.

Beginning of every week, IT teams forward you a spreadsheet showing your progress. Quite neat and clean. However, talking of digital marketing, it is more like a distribution channel. Would you like people dictating what numbers you should be giving more attention and which you should not?

You are comfortable as you get the number in hands with no hassles since you have appointed someone to look after them. However, that does not reduce your responsibility to look after the digital impacts. It is a fundamental aspect of your business. It focuses on your growth.

  So what aspects you must look after?

  What are the metrics that you should concentrate to drive out more revenue?

So What Are The 5 Metrics to Make Your Digital Marketing Outperform

Ask your team to mention the signals that you need to watch. Challenge them to report referring to the five metrics mentioned here, then take up the lead to create the strategy behind your growth.

#1 Paying Attention to the Unique Users

There is a huge potential or a threat of distraction when you look at the Google Analytics. On a dashboard, you might find 80 reports, but many of them may not have a real impact on the marketing strategy of your business. Then, whom should you watch? For example, some visitors might start following your from Costa Rica using Firefox Browser, don’t ignore them. The number of unique visitors paying attention to your business is a clear indication that your business is expanding.

#2 Lead Conversion Rates

This is a metric that you must ask your IT or marketing department to report every Monday. The global standard of lead conversion is between 2% and 4%. If less than 2% of the users are visiting your websites or taking some action (subscribing to newsletters, email, or turning into leads), then there is a problem in content strategy. Look at the conversion rates, create unique contents to make the percent shoot 4% and higher.

#3 Size of Your Email List

Have you watched the overall size of your email list? If you see a decline in the list size, you will find a disconnection between the value proposition and the delivery of that value. Will you like a reduced email list affect your business?

#4 Conversion Rates Must Generate Revenue

Measure the conversion rate of the subscribers to revenue. It does not just apply to companies that have shopping carts, but rather it is important to follow the lead throughout the life cycle. You have to establish the client’s value generated digitally. As the date of the lead generation and date of purchase order stays mentioned this metric helps to evaluate with ease. Keep a watch on the average conversion value of every customer.

#5 Site Traffic and Revenue Generated with Keywords

Find out which content is reaping huge amount of visitor look up to the site traffic and the revenue produced by each keyword. Get rid of the content that does not perform well and dig deeper to the content that drives sales. If your IT and marketing team works up on these metrics, then you are at the helm of your digital strategy, you will effectively manage the business growth. Even you do not need to create the Facebook updates or learn codes. Start leading your team to establish a strong digital marketing strategy and generate strong revenue. Unplug these metrics to make your digital strategy outperform!

If you use digital marketing strategies for your brand, then agility, learning and modification are some of the key ingredients that ensure success. If you have not stressed on these three issues then we suggest putting it on the table during next budget discussions or convey it to your IT team to lay stress on them.

Making profitable sales through digital platform is the hottest trend in the market. To set buzzword for your brand give shot to these metrics and make your digital channels outperform.