What is a Landing Page and How Can I Use One for My Business?

What is a Landing Page and How Can I Use One for My Business?

Engaging customers is tricky business. But a well-designed landing page can make your life easier. It can significantly increase conversions for your pay-per-click (PPC) and email marketing campaigns.

But what exactly is a landing page and how can you use it in your business?

What is a Landing Page?

In plain terms, a landing page is where a website visitor “lands” on. The visitor could be directed to it from a social media link, online ad or newsletter.

A landing page is meant to limit the visitor’s options by presenting specific information. By doing so, it aims to optimize conversion. Most marketers use landing pages for sales announcements, contests and product launches.

If done well, a landing page can generate leads and give you more bang for your buck.

How Can Small Businesses Use Landing Pages Effectively?

Be Specific

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and picture this. You see an interesting restaurant ad about lip-smacking seafood from Korea. But when you click on it, you are taken to a page that talks about seafood, in general.

How would you feel? Will you stay on the page for long?

Presumably not, and who can blame you? When users don’t get exactly what they are looking for, they tend to lose interest. That’s why, it’s very important to not beat around the bush and be specific.

Include a Clear Call to Action

So let’s assume you create a specific landing page that provides the exact information to the visitor.

What next? What do you want the visitor to do now?

Go back to the goal that you set for the landing page. For example, if you created the landing page to announce a special offer on Korean seafood dishes at your restaurant, add a call-to-action that explicitly mentions that.

Keep it Simple

Don’t make your customer scroll down the page too much for all the information you want to provide. Reduce text and strike the visual balance to keep your customers intrigued.

You may also add some bullets to capture your key messages. Remember a clutter-free layout draws more attention and serves your overall purpose.

Tools to Create Your Own Landing Pages

There are two ways to create landing pages: you hire a web design company or you simply do it yourself. Luckily, the second option is easier than you can imagine.

Here are some tools worth exploring.

LeadPages is user-friendly for beginners and marketers who want to save time. It also has some cool templates to explore.

Unbounce is a bit more sophisticated option. It has several options in a drag and drop format.

Instapage is great for those who can’t spend too much time on creating landing pages. It takes about ten minutes to get one done.

PageWiz is yet another option for beginners. It features in-depth analytics and A/B testing.

Landing Gear Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “What is a Landing Page and How Can I Use One for My Business?” was first published on Small Business Trends

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5 Marketing Tasks Your Competitors are Successfully Automating

If you're still performing all of your marketing tasks manually, it's time to look into marketing automation for small businesses.

We live in a business world that’s largely ruled by automation. As a result, you’re losing time and money if you’re manually doing something that your competition is streamlining through automation. But are you aware of the various marketing tasks that your competitors are already automating?

What to Know About Automation

Automation is a big word with big consequences. It’s not as simple as identifying a problem, finding an automated solution, and implementing said solution. There are certain areas of your business that are naturally conducive to being streamlined and then there are other areas that need lots of manual input.

It’s also important to recognize that automating a task doesn’t mean you’re completely stepping away and severing all human ties with that task. Automation simply means that you’re able to eliminate some of the time wasted and relocate resources elsewhere.

“Businesses looking to adopt automation must realize that it is far from a one-size-fits-all solution,” IT pro Barclay Ballard says. “There are areas of your businesses that can become more efficient and productive by being automated, but even these are likely to require some human involvement. What’s more, there are likely to be some companies or teams that are completely unsuited to automation.”

The point is that you need to spend time carefully evaluating your needs and understanding what can and cannot be automated within your organization. What you discover may surprise you.

Marketing Automation for Small Businesses

Five Marketing Tasks the Competition is Automating

One area of automation that’s experienced a lot of growth over the last couple of years is marketing automation. There’s a ton of competition in this niche, with many good vendors to choose from. You can either select some sort of all-encompassing automation platform or pick and choose which tasks you want to streamline with individual tools. Either way, here’s a look at some of the tasks your competition is already automating as you read this article.

1. Social Media

Social media is the best place to start since just about every business with a solid online presence is automating their activity in some form or fashion. There are a multitude of tools and you can find applications for automating posting, sharing, engaging followers, syncing accounts, and much more. While there’s still a place for manually monitoring your account, automation can greatly reduce the time and manpower it takes to complete very basic tasks.

2. Blog Promotion

Blog promotion is a huge undertaking that has a considerable impact on your ability to grow your brand and generate leads. With the help of marketing automation tools, you can streamline many of the smaller tasks that take up your time – such as sharing posts, split testing headlines, finding high-quality images, and more. Most marketing automation platforms have a handful of blog promotion features packed inside.

3. Email Marketing

How’s your email marketing going? If you aren’t automating parts of this time-intensive area of your business, chances are, you’re missing out on opportunities to capture more leads and push them through the conversion funnel. Email marketing is naturally conducive to automation and with the right system in place you can segment lists, personalize messaging to the recipient, schedule email blasts, integrate relevant calls-to-action, and much more.

4. A/B Testing

A/B testing is something that a lot of marketers are scared to get involved with because they feel it will overcomplicate things. Well, thanks to automated tools that effortlessly handle spit testing, nothing could be farther from the truth. You can set up A/B tests in the background and you won’t even know they’re running. Then, based on the results from the tests, you can set up a system that automatically changes various landing page elements to satisfy what your audience responds best to.

5. Analytics

If you look at your analytics data and feel like it’s composed in a foreign language, you aren’t alone. But if you aren’t doing anything to deconstruct and understand what the data is telling you, you’re in the minority. Thanks to an influx of new analytics tools in the marketplace, it’s easier than ever to automate the collection and interpretation of data so that you can see exactly what’s happening in clean, visually stimulating reports.

Catch Up With the Times

“To carry out an automation project correctly requires time and investment in both software and people. It is not a quick fix,” Ballard says. “However, the businesses that succeed in automating the most time-consuming and repetitive tasks will reinvigorate their workplace by giving their employees the ability to work faster, more efficiently and more intelligently than previously possible.”

Automation Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “5 Marketing Tasks Your Competitors are Successfully Automating” was first published on Small Business Trends

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6 Reasons Why Your Business Should Use Podcasting

Many businesses nowadays are using podcasts as a a powerful marketing tool for improving their prospects. Discover the 6 benefits of podcasting.

The changing times have led to the implementation of various products of technology in businesses. With various aspects of businesses transforming everyday with the changing customer requirements and market demands, these tools have turned out to be necessities to stay afloat in this highly competitive market.

Podcasting has garnered an immense popularity over the years. A podcast is a set of digital audio files that are available on the internet for downloading. A user can subscribe to the podcast to receive the digital files once they are uploaded.

Businesses nowadays are increasingly using podcasts to improve their prospects. It is a powerful marketing tool. Podcasts have become the new talk radio on mobile devices. In fact, the increased usage of mobile phones has led to the explosive growth of podcasting. Let’s take a look at how podcasting can benefit your business.

The Benefits of Podcasting

Podcasting is an Alternative to Video

It is no news that video marketing is crucial for businesses. However, not everyone is comfortable to shoot videos. As a result, using videos, in that case, can hurt your and your business’s reputation considerably.

Additionally, some small businesses may not have the right equipment to shoot videos that will stand out. This is because there are numerous variables involved in videos which include lighting, sound, background and so on. Each of these can go wrong if they are not handled carefully. This is where podcasts become relevant.

Increased Traffic Generation

Using podcasts can help you reach out to new audiences for your business. Podcasts can help in building familiarity with a wide range of audiences. Listeners usually subscribe to the series and regularly listen. As long as the audio series continues, your audience is quite likely to keep listening.

Additionally, your audience may recommend the podcasts to others who may be interested in them, thus increasing your reach considerably. This can lead to improved traffic generation quickly.

Helps in Building Better Relationships with the Audience

Even though a podcast is a one-sided medium, it helps in building effective relationships with the listeners. It gives the feeling that the listeners know the person speaking on the podcast. People listen to podcasts because they have something in common with the speaker and the brand the speaker is representing.

Such a good relationship helps in building trust. This encourages listeners to be associated with the brand. This, in turn, leads to improved conversion. People are more likely to buy something from a friend than a stranger.

Easy to Create

Creating a podcast does not involve a lot of steps. The equipment required for the same is reasonably priced and also available easily. You would need a good quality microphone and headphones for creating a podcast. The editing software for this purpose is free and is quite simple. For uploading the files on your website, a good WiFi connection is important. You may also need to send the podcast to your audience through Email.

Once you have created the podcast, you can start promoting it to increase its exposure and reach out to a larger audience. For this, you would need to make the podcasts available on a variety of distribution channels.

Podcasts are Highly Engaging

We are no strangers to information overload. With the internet being filled with an ample amount of written content, audio information that attempts to engage customers can be a welcoming break from the monotony. Additionally, it leaves enough room for the speaker to convey the message in a highly interactive way which written content may not essentially provide.

In a survey conducted on 300,000 podcast listeners, it was found that 63 percent of the respondents had bought what the host had promoted. This indicates that podcasts can be used to engage the audience and influence their buying decisions positively.

Improves Public Speaking Skills

Regularly hosting podcasts could help you develop confidence while speaking in public. As a result, you would not face any problem while taking part in public speeches. You would start developing a natural, easygoing flow while speaking. In addition to that, you would also receive ample public speaking opportunities wherein you can promote your business.

Most businesses have already started augmenting podcasts into their marketing strategies. It is high time you start implementing them for the growth of your company.

Podcast Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “6 Reasons Why Your Business Should Use Podcasting” was first published on Small Business Trends

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How to Use ClickBank Affiliate Marketing: A Step by Step Guide

How to Use ClickBank Affiliate Marketing: A Step by Step Guide

Did you know you can make some money as a ClickBank affiliate marketer on your website?

Ever heard of ClickBank? No?

Well, ClickBank is one of the most popular online websites for buying and selling information products. On this platform you can find email marketing software, audio books to help with public speaking and just about anything that you can imagine.

Getting Started With ClickBank Affiliate Marketing

Anyone can become a ClickBank affiliate — it’s free. When you find a product that you wish to promote, either by searching the ClickBank marketplace or at a vendor’s website, you will be provided with a unique link which you can use to direct customers to the product page.

Here’s is a quick guide on how you can become a ClickBank affiliate.

1. Open a ClickBank Account

Start by signing up for a ClickBank account. Enter your personal information.

How to Use ClickBank Affiliate Marketing - Open a ClickBank Account

You will then be asked to enter your banking information as well as your account information.

How to Use ClickBank Affiliate Marketing

2. Getting Paid

Payments are sent out every 2 weeks if you wish to be paid by check and every week if you are eligible for direct deposits.

3. Choosing Products

To see the complete range of products, please visit the ClickBank Marketplace.

The marketplace listings are sorted in popularity order, but you can as well use the search box to find your preferred product.

Against each entry is a Promote button that provides you with the affiliate link. You will also be provided with info on the commission you will receive if you sell the item.

How to Use ClickBank Affiliate Marketing - Choosing Products

Tip: Aim for products with reasonable commission. No lower than let’s say 40 percent, to make your efforts worthwhile. Also, you should note that ClickBank deducts transaction fees from a sale. Here’s a calculator to help you calculate your actual commission. More so, you need to remember to disclose all your affiliate links and mark them as nofollow. Here are a few reasons as to why you need to do this.

Image: ClickBank.com

This article, “How to Use ClickBank Affiliate Marketing: A Step by Step Guide” was first published on Small Business Trends

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6 Reasons Why Your Landing Page Has a High Bounce Rate

6 Reasons Why Your Landing Page Has a High Bounce Rate

So you and your marketing team spent quite a significant amount of time choosing the most appropriate template and messaging for your landing page, and didn’t get enough traction? Often due to a high bounce rate, this phenomenon is a real problem for marketers struggling to convert users.

While landing pages will vary according to the desired call-to-action, some items must appear for users to actually pay attention to the messaging. Therefore, regardless of whether you opt for a fully customized landing page or an automated service, make sure to consider the following six elements that contribute to a high bounce rate, an often critical measurement as it directly relates to whether or not your landing page was able to meet “…the user’s needs and usability.”:

Why Your Lading Pages Have a High Bounce Rate

1. Poor Design and Animation

While there are many great online landing page creators, choose wisely before sharing your page with potential leads. Think of the color design, the exact messaging you wish to spread, and the precise style which will lead users to react. For instance, adding too many unnecessary images can sway visitors away and keep them from filling in the valuable content fields to further move ahead in the sales funnel.

See below for an example of a landing page showing too many different discounts being displayed (I’m already confused, not sure about you):

6 Reasons Why Your Landing Page Has a High Bounce Rate - Poor Design and Animation

Image source: Kissmetrics

2. Ambiguous or Unclear Messaging

Keep it simple stupid. The lovely KISS acronym comes in very handy here, as it’s very fitting in the world of landing pages. Users often leave your landing page due to unclear or even misleading messaging. Would you leave your personal contact details if you fail to understand the actual product, service or message being displayed on your screen?

Take the below example — it doesn’t immediately make sense to new visitors unfamiliar with the product or service being offered. What will result in me getting relief from pain? How can I know this is actually referring to a potential surgical procedure?

6 Reasons Why Your Landing Page Has a High Bounce Rate - Ambiguous or Unclear Messaging

Image source: Unbounce

3. Too Many Call-to-Actions

If you have spent adequate time with your marketing team on appropriate messaging and targeting, be sure to include a relevant call-to-action button that will help you reach your intended objective. So whether you are focused on getting more emails and potential leads, or signing up people based on a massive promotional offer, be sure the content and the framing you pick are in line with this.

See the example below of Shopify’s well-framed landing page with clear messaging and a simple and yet, direct and clear call-to-action — “sign up for 14 day free trial by quickly filling in 3 boxes”:

6 Reasons Why Your Landing Page Has a High Bounce Rate - Too Many Call-to-Actions

Image source: Hubspot

4. Poor Targeting

Even if you have the best in-house landing page designers, your bounce rate will remain lower than you expect if the actual targeting is poor — i.e. you are reaching the wrong and/or inappropriate audience. If these wrong users are being shown your message, there is absolutely no inclination to continue on in the sales funnel.

A helpful tip is using tools that offer A/B testing to test out different strategies for pushing your landing pages to relevant customers. For instance, leading marketing automation company GetResponse has incorporated a feature that enables users to track their landing page performance and make necessary adjustments when relevant.

5. Unregulated Pop-up Frequency

If an online visitor has reached the point that he/she has to form a strategy for staying away from continuous pop-up landing pages, you may find yourself creating a more painful than pleasurable experience. Advertisements and promotional offers can even sometimes be overwhelming in our consumer-hungry  society, especially if it seems as though pop-ups are displayed every time you move the cursor or want to visit a different site or webpage. This can have massive consequences, as in 2013, it was claimed that “70 percent of users said they found irrelevant popups to be annoying”.

6. Slow Loading Times

Today, no one has patience to wait for a page to load. This is true even for a product or service they really need. This is why slow loading times can be a major factor in your landing page’s bounce rate. According to various sources, you have just a mere few seconds to get people to stay on your specific page.

Tools such as Pingdom and URI Valet are great places to start testing out your load times.

Time to Conclude

Remember, you want your bounce rate to be as low as possible in order to truly be effective. Working hard on design and messaging is a great start, but it will require a bit more effort than this to get users to the next level in the sales process.

These are just six reasons for understanding why landing pages can have a high bounce rate. Have any other ideas or insights on this topic? Leave a comment or two below.

Bounce Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “6 Reasons Why Your Landing Page Has a High Bounce Rate” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Variety joins Huffington Post, New York Times in launching branded content studio

Penske Media property Variety is spearheading the creation of a branded content studio in service to its parent company’s many properties, and brands such as Mercedes-Benz and Delta Air Lines are already on board.

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