5 Must-Have Calls to Action for your Online Marketing

A key goal of both traditional and online marketing has always been to elicit a response from your target audience. Whether you’re advertising in a newspaper, sending an email, or creating a website, your underlying goal is to get customers and prospective customers to take some kind of action.  It might be to create a call to purchase a product.  Or it may just be to encourage them to learn more about your product or service, how you can solve a problem for them, or why you’re the best person for the job.

This is Known as a “Call to Action” or CTA

Your Calls to Action (CTAs) should move your target audience through the marketing and sales funnelProperly designed CTAs within your website, social media assets, and your online ads should help move your audience through the marketing/sales funnel (see diagram) so that visitors become leads, leads become customers, and customers become promoters; therefore, you will often be seeking to elicit different responses from different people, based on where they are along the sales cycle.

Your CTAs Should Not be Generic

They need to be tailored to your different audience members.  Are you trying to make a first-time visitor aware of your product or service?  Are you trying to help prospects evaluate your product or service?  Are you trying to get prospects to make a purchase?  You could probably answer yes to all of these questions at one time or another as a (potential) customer progresses through the sales cycle.

When developing CTAs for your website, consider where each person along the sales cycle is likely to go within your website, decide what action you want them to take, and then create an eye-catching and persuasive CTA that is appropriate for them.

Here are 5 Types of CTAs Every Website Should Have

1.    Lead Generation – Here you’re trying to turn visitors into leads.  First, decide where most of your new visitors will go on your website – possibly your blog.  Then invite them to download a whitepaper or tip sheet, a how-to video or a webinar.

2.    Form Submission – Once someone visits your website, you don’t want to lose the chance to turn that visitor into a lead.  In order to do that, you need to collect information from them, and the best way to do that is to provide a marketing offer, such as an e-book, a webinar, a free trial, or a coupon, in exchange for their information.

3.    “Read More” Button – Any time you have longer content – such as a blog post, customer case study page, or press newsroom – entice your audience with a “Click here to continue reading.”  In addition to allowing you to make the content easier to scan through, this method also provides a more accurate analysis of what your audience is interested in.

4.    Social Sharing – This is one of the simplest calls to action (“Like us on Facebook”, “Follow us on Twitter”, etc.).  It’s a low-commitment way for your audience to engage with your brand and allows them to share your business with their friends.  A good place for this type of CTA is on your blog posts and landing pages.

5.    Lead Nurturing – Sometimes people are interested in your product or service, but aren’t quite ready to commit.  They’re further along your sales cycle.  Here you want to entice them with some type of offer aligned very closely with your product or service, such as a product demo, a free trial, or a free quote. Also consider targeting them with a series of email messages appropriate to where they are in the sales funnel based on their response to an offer.

As your business grows and matures, your online marketing strategy and web marketing efforts will typically become more complex and require different types of CTA’s; however, when you’re first starting out, these 5 CTAs are a great place to start.

Help for Your CTAs

Looking to develop effective calls-to-action to support your online marketing efforts? Contact us today: 484-297-6395.

This post is based largely on an article by Ginny Soskey – The 8 Types of CTAs You Need to Have on Your Website.   

Search Engine Optimization: Think Beyond Rankings Alone

SEO is about more than just rankingsMany businesses have become romanticized by the idea of using rankings as the key performance indicator (KPI) for search engine optimization (SEO).  While rankings matter, here are seven things you should know about the limitations of rankings.

Google’s SEO Ranking Formula is Constantly Changing

Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving (550 times per year, in recent years), so rankings are just a snapshot in time, not a permanent state.  As the algorithm changes, so will your site’s rankings.  The fact is – No one can control a website’s Google rankings; you can only affect them.

Diversification

By diversifying your online marketing tactics – with long-tail search terms, content, public relations, social media, and even paid search – rather than focusing on a few “head terms,” you can build an online presence that protects you against future ranking fluctuations.

Personalization

Google now takes into account a user’s history, preferences, and location to tailor their search experience.  So, even if you’re doing everything correctly, your website still might get bumped out because of a user’s preference or location.

Risk of Penalties

Many companies create tunnel vision by placing too much importance on rankings, to the point where marketers do “whatever is necessary” to satisfy the demands of their clients or superiors, increasing the risk of being hit by a Google penalty.

Distraction

If all the focus is on rankings, companies will often overlook the value of other tactics, such as website optimization.

Shortsightedness

Using rankings as the only measurement of success often creates a focus on short-term efforts (link building) rather than long-term efforts (content creation).   Although it takes time, valuable content will increase traffic to your website over a longer period of time than link building.

SEO Ranking Scams

As with any industry, SEO has its share of unethical individuals.  One scam is using terms that have no value to the company in order to simply increase the website’s ranking.

The next time you’re considering the performance of your SEO, it would be prudent to consider more than just rankings. If you need help with your SEO efforts, please Contact Us.

This post is a summarized version of an article by Jeff Quipp – Why You Should Stop Using Google Rankings as Your Primary SEO KPI http://blog.hubspot.com/stop-google-rankings-as-primary-seo-kpi-var


8 Copywriting Tips for Web Design & Online Marketing Success

Copywriting tips for effective website design and content marketing. From PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Allentown, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, York, Pennsylvania and beyond.Writing persuasive copy for online viewing differs greatly from writing for magazine articles and for most other printed copy. Great web design and content marketing involves much more than creating attractive graphics. Your website copy is the key to attracting viewers, to engaging them, and to converting viewers into prospects and customers. Here are some tips for writing great online copy to satisfy all three goals.

Keep It Pithy

When writing website and other online content it’s extremely important to keep the information flowing quickly. Don’t terrorize your readers with long paragraphs and confusing text. Online viewers tend to be impatient because other options are just a quick Google search away. Therefore, find ways to communicate your message in as few words as possible.  Keep your paragraphs short and use subtitles generously in your copy to aid readers who want to skim your information before reading certain paragraphs more closely.

Copywriting to Sell

Write sales copy with a WIFM (what’s in it for me – the customer, that is) mentality. Decide how and why a customer may benefit from your product or service, and then work those reasons into your copy. Sure, there are times when being subtle is the right strategy, but often it is better to be quick and direct with your message, keeping in mind the impatience factor noted above. After quickly getting to the WIFM message, provide the details lower down in the copy or in a linked sub-page for those who want to learn more. That approach satisfies the need for speed whlie also providing helpful details that may be required to complete the sale or to encourage the viewer to take the next step.

Create a Clear Call to Action

Sample call to action for PMI's web design needs assessment for customers in Reading, PA and beyondAs a marketer I find it surprising that so many web pages lack a clear call to action. A call to action may be as simple as a text link that connects to an order form, or as elaborate as a detailed graphic (such as the one to the right) that links to a sub-page or infographic presenting your offer in greater detail.

Studies have shown that clearly stating the obvious is often the best approach when it comes to creating an effective call to action. For example, buttons and other clickable images frequently gain more clicks when accompanied by the words “click here” or by an arrow or image of a mouse pointer hovering over the button as if it were about to click the image. Remember, people are frequently in a hurry, so connect the dots for them.

Make it Easy to Find and Easy to Follow Through

Think about what you want your viewers to do, the benefits they will receive by doing it, and then make it incredibly easy for them to find your call to action, combining a clear message with attractive graphics. Where possible place your call to action “above the fold”, meaning on the upper portion of your web page where it can be seen without scrolling on a laptop device.

Match Your Message to Your Audience

How well do you know your target audience or your best type of customer? How well does your copywriting appeal to their emotions and needs? For example, if you sell beauty products or apparel, would customers want to use your products primarily to appear more youthful or to look more professional? Is your message and imagery in line with their needs and the benefits of your products?

A strong and well-placed testimonial can be used to add a persuasive boost to your copy. Demonstrate how the product or service has helped others, perhaps starting with an eye-catching opening statement in bold text, followed by a short paragraph and perhaps a link to additional testimonials.

Headlines and Bulleted Lists

Breaking up copy with bold headlines and subtitles as described above keeps things moving and helps keep the reader engagad. In a similar way, bulleted lists can be used to help readers quickly understand your key points.

Copywriting Checklist

In summary, here is a quick list of 8 things to keep in mind when writing your online copy:

  • Keep it pithy – connect the dots for the reader
  • Create clear calls to action
  • Place key calls to action above the fold
  • Write with a WIFM mindset
  • Use short paragraphs and frequent titles/subtitles
  • Use bulleted lists where applicable
  • Match your message to your audience
  • Use powerful testimonials

We’re Here for You

Please contact us if you need assistance in writing persuasive, search engine optimized copy for your website, online ads, or other marketing materials.

Content Marketing: 5 Ways to Write Posts People Want to Read

Boost your social media marketing strategy with effective content marketing. Learn to write posts people want to read. By PMI, serving Reading, PA, Berks County, Philadelphia, Allentown and beyond with content marketing and related online marketing services.When it comes to blogging as a form of content marketing, creating interesting content that your customers want to read can be a difficult task for a busy entrepreneur.

However, taking the time to create something new on a regular basis allows you to connect with your clients in a friendly, non-salesy way. Done well, it creates respect for your expertise, builds trust, and an appreciation for your helpful advice offered free of charge.

There are many ways to share great content with your audience without sacrificing potential business by “giving away the farm”. Here are 5 easy ways to get started:

  1. Create an Excerpt:

    Give your readers a closer look into your products or services and how they can benefit.  People love getting something of value for free, and great content doesn’t have to take long to develop if it’s something for which you have true expertise, or if you can condense a paid version of something into a free version.  For example, if you publish a virtual magazine, you can post a small pdf version of your magazine with a few sample articles.

  2. Repost and Summarize Recent News:

    Reposting and summarizing recent news (know as newsjacking) is a great way to ride the coattails of a news story and to attract traffic from search engines (SEO) in the process.  For best results, be quick to jump on a new story, and stay with important, highly publicized events and content related to your business. Then, add your personal insights or advice.  Look for opportunities to link your post to other areas of your website or blog, which will provide another SEO boost and give the reader an opportunity to delve deeper into your online content. The longer you can keep your readers (particularly first time readers) on your blog or website, the greater the chance that they will return in the future. 

  3. Repackage Out-of-date Content:

    Blog posts can last years but content can easily become outdated, especially technology and fashion-oriented content. If you’ve run out of new things to write about for your blog, try repackaging old content with a fresh new look, and update it with the latest information.  For example, if some of your customers are now using the new version of a technology or service you offer, create a new blog post about their experiences in converting or upgrading, such as the struggles they faced, and the benefits they received. Make it relevant and exciting so your readers will want to keep coming back for more. 

  4. Teach your Readers Something New:

    People, especially blog readers, love to learn new and useful information.  A great way to generate hits and keep the attention of your target market is to find something related to your line of work that you can teach your readers.  A plumber might write a blog about how to prevent kitchen sink blockages or a butcher might write about choosing the best cut of steak for a family cook out.  The possibilities are endless.  Be creative and remember, just because the answer is obvious to you, that doesn’t mean it’s obvious to your readers.  Remember, you’re the expert! 

  5. Answer Questions:

    If you have readers sending you questions regarding your business, your industry, best practices, or even general inquiries, you can quickly create original content addressing their questions on your blog. Include research and elaborate on points that may be unclear.  In the process you may learn about more about your own field of work and further increase your level of expertise.

Steady as You Go!

A steady stream of new and relevant content will encourage your blog readers to actively follow you. They’ll appreciate the fact that you are spending time to keep them informed, they’ll get to you know you better, and come to view you as an expert.

For best results, keep your posts flowing at a predictable pace, preferably weekly or even twice a week.  People like the fact that they can check back often and find something new.

If you’re interested in content marketing, but would like help developing a smart strategy, or if you need support in creating fresh contact, please contact us.

Copywriting Tips for Online Press Releases

Press release copywriting tips from PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, and beyond with press release writing services.One of the best things you can do to bolster your online marketing efforts is to develop interesting, informative, search engine optimized press releases that people actually want to read. Writing about the history of your company, the hard work you put in — let’s face it, that’s the boring stuff you say when you have nothing to say. On the other hand, people may enjoy hearing about the grand opening of your new branch, your latest product offerings, or even something as simple as the story behind your new logo.

That’s where a great press release can really shine. Press release copywriting combines the best of news article writing, content marketing, and search engine optimization, and you can learn the basics without going to journalism school.

Know Thy Audience

Your audience is the first thing to consider. Are you writing your press release for potential B2B or B2C customers, industry experts, or investors? What are their needs and interests? Your customers may want to get a taste of what it would be like to experience your products or services. On the other hand, if you’re writing for industry experts you may need to delve into the technical aspects and benefits of your products. Potential investors may want some of each, but they’ll be especially interested in how well your business and its products and services are positioned for future growth. Your press release copywriting should cater to the needs of your core audience while creating enough interest to also satisfy a broader audience.

All Killer, No Filler

Press release copywriting, as with online writing in general, relies on one rule above all others: economy of prose, sometimes referred to as “all killer, no filler”. If a sentence reads well when you remove a word, then remove it. Repeat the process until you can’t pare it down any further, and then place your verbs at the beginning of most sentences to keep the story driving forward quickly.

A Pyramid Scheme, But in a Good Way

News articles, press releases, and other copywriting styles are written using the Pyramid principle. Place your most important details at the beginning, followed by the second most important, and so on.  Press releases are unique in that they should also feature a summary statement appearing directly below the headline. Some online sources will display your summary statement word-for-word in the search results, and an enticing summary may be the hook to getting the reader to click through to your full release. The end of your press release should contain a well-crafted boiler plate statement about your company’s mission and a link to your website.

The 5 W’s Apply

You probably recall the five “W’s” from your high school writing courses: who, what, when, where and why. They often apply to press release copywriting as well. Press releases for businesses are usually about “what”, “when” or “where”. When you open a new branch, introduce a new product, or reveal the release date of an anticipated service, consider the other “W’s” that may be important to your story.  For example, “who” can be important if you have recently hired an executive, a sales team or celebrity. Likewise, further developing the “where” or “why” may add interesting details that encourage the reader to share your press release with others.

So Much to Say, So Little Space, So Make it Count!

Copywriting experts know that you have a very small amount of time to catch people’s attention. If your first sentence contains all people need to know, then you’ve wasted your time writing the rest of the release. Good copywriting includes a strong teaser statement at the beginning that doesn’t reveal all the juicy details, but draws the reader through to the end, adding interest along the way. The best copywriting is informative and compelling, yet spartan in its prose.

Search Engine Optimization for Your Press Release

SEO may be the most overlooked tip for writing a great online press release. We did say ONLINE press release, right? Any time you are writing for an online audience, search engine optimization should be among your foremost goals. Do your keyword research so that you know how most people search for the information you are planning to communicate, and then build those keywords into your title, your opening and closing paragraphs, as well as the paragraphs in between. SEO is too detailed a topic for this short post, but you can find additional SEO tips on our blog.

Press Releases to Reach a Large Audience

Press releases are unique in that they are capable of reaching a very large audience within days. By engaging a paid online press release distribution service you can send your release to literally thousands of online news feeds, depending on your level of investment. Many of those feeds will appear in the news section of Google, Bing, and other search engines, particularly in the first 4 weeks after the release goes live. A well-written press release may even open doors to additional press interviews and other speaking engagements.

Need help in developing an effective online strategy that includes press releases? Contact us today for a free initial consultation for qualified customers in Reading, PA and far beyond.