The Two Bare Essentials for Successful Landing Pages

Someone recently asked me what a great landing page consisted of. Before I began to rattle through my list of essential checkpoints, they modified the question and said, “Answer in two words.” I thought for a split second and then responded, “Content and Images.” Okay, that was three, sue me.

Still, my point remains. In order to have a really successful landing page, you really only need two things (aside from the obvious i.e. call to action, hosting site, URL, the ability to exist, etc.). When it really comes down to it, content is going to drive the traffic and then the sales and images are going to keep the viewer invested in the landing page. Done deal, right?

Doing Content Right on Landing Pages

Not so fast. It should be obvious by now that you can’t just slap up any old content up on a landing page and expect it to work. The content has to be done correctly. This means a few things:

Content Focus. For starters, the content has to be very specific. Landing pages aren’t the place to write novels or go off on tangents. Tell the viewer where they are, what they can do here and what you want them to do. Get them in, get them informed, get their order/email/etc.

Keywords. Of course you’re going to need keywords to rank on the SERPs, but don’t just keyword stuff. Use LSIs to trigger that oh-so important semantic search algorithm.

– Digestible Chunks. Don’t write huge paragraphs or walls of text. Keep it short and to the point, creating a lot of white space and nothing that will swallow your viewer whole.

– Pleasing Font. No comic sans, no 20 pt bold, no Times Roman—stick to Verdana if you want to be safe, but don’t be obnoxious or boring with your font choice, color or size as a general rule.

– Proper English (or whatever language you’re writing in). If there are spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, punctuation mistakes or anything of the sort, I’m leaving and I’m taking your viewers with me. These types of errors scream “amateur” and “scam artist” and will drive your leads to a better landing page (probably not owned by you!).

Don’t Forget to Optimize Images

And if content has to be done right, it follows that images can’t just be slapped up there either in order for landing pages to have the “bare essentials” for success. Here are some pointers to make sure your images are being all that they can be:

– Properly Sized. Images can’t be too big or too small. They should be scaled to fit on any device screen (responsive websites are the best way to do this).

– Alt Text. While not exactly essential, it is important to your keyword ranking and ultimate ability for your landing page to be found through a Google image search. Make your alt txt on images the keywords for your landing page.

Content Appropriate. Make sure the pictures not only match what you are talking about, but are also situated in the right area on the page. For example, don’t talk about blue elephants at the top of the page and then post a blue elephant picture at the bottom.

As you can see, it doesn’t take many elements to have a killer landingpage, but what it does take has to be done properly.

Running Out of Things to Blog About? 3 Tips to Get You Back on Track

In this content heavy market, blogs and reviews likely drive a large chunk of traffic to your site and sales from it. Unfortunately, this also means writing (or outsourcing) a steady stream of blogs for your website, which means you are working with limited resources. If you’re paying for your blogs, then unless they are making you more profit than they cost you to outsource, you’ll eventually run out of capital. If you’re writing your blogs, you’ll likely hit some dry spells where you don’t have any more good ideas for blogs (if you haven’t hit some already).

 

Three Techniques You Can Use to Create Fresh Blogs When Yours are Stale

For those that have run out of topics to blog about, take comfort in the fact that this happens to just about every internet marketer that doesn’t have a team of writers tirelessly wracking their brains for killer blog topics. So if you find yourself teetering on the brink of an empty tank, try these three techniques for refilling your think tank:

1. Play I Spy. Unless you are the only person or website in the world in your niche, in which case just say that in blog after blog since there’s no competition, you likely have saturated marketplace to deal with. While that’s difficult for any number of other reasons, for blogging purposes, it could be a goldmine.

Simply go on a little “spying” mission to your competition’s blogs and see what they are blogging about. This could give you inspiration in any number of ways, maybe you see things from a different perspective and find ways to differentiate yourself; maybe you think your competition is completely wrong and you can blog why.

Most importantly, see which topics have gotten the most social shares or comments, those are the topics that your demographic wants to read or talk about, meaning you need to be covering them. The point is, use your competition’s blog to not only stay relevant with everything that is going on in your niche, but also as some motivation to set your site up as more knowledgeable and authoritative than your competition’s. Do this through blogging.

2. Look Inside. After you look around you, you should start to have some inspiration or ideas for blogs. Now, take a look at your own personal journey as an internet marketer. Think about your successes and your failures, these are what interest people.

Without a personal spin or attachment to a blog, it simply reads as some research that some copywriter did and then threw together in a few minutes. You should have some sort of personal story to relay that shows why what you’re saying matters.

People want to learn from other people’s mistakes as well as follow in the footsteps of their success. Outline what went right or wrong for you, how and why it happened, and share what your readers should take away from that. (It helps if what they take away is whatever you’re selling, but not every blog has to be sales-driven.)

3. Use Buzzsumo. Buzzsumo is an amazing search engine that is geared towards filtering through the metrics and results of content marketing. You simply enter a search topic or keyword phrase and then find all of the content that’s been published on that topic or keyword.

You can filter by date, type of content (e.g. articles, interviews, giveaways, videos, infographics, etc.) and then see how many shares each link has gotten across the various social media platforms. This will help you keep your finger on the pulse of the industry as well as come up with fresh blog topics.

The 10 Ways Marketing Will Change In 2016: Part 2

In part one of this series, we took a look at the first five predictions for changes to marketing trends in 2016. Many of our first half of the list focused on changes in tone of voice and public perception approach, let’s check out some other angles in the next five:

6) Managing your entire marketing cycle will be cheaper and simpler

As so many new companies have sprung up on online, the demand for awesome business to business software as a service (B2B SaaS) products has skyrocketed. Platforms like Hubspot, Kissmetrics, Intercom, and more have sprouted up to help manage campaigns, test conversions, schedule content, and more.

This innovation will only get more competitive and result in better platforms and tools for brands. More than a few brands in 2015 likely saved themselves a boatload of money by using such tools to bring their marketing efforts in-house.

7) Advertising and branding agencies will change

Let’s be honest, this one has been happening for a few years, but we’re really going to start seeing the dinosaurs die out in 2016. Agencies who are still only working with legacy brands, betting on them not bringing in fresh blood who want to expand beyond traditional advertising, or who want to simply ‘service’ social media and new communication platforms to appease clients rather than to actually innovate, are going to have trouble.

8) Consultants will have to get more clever

In the same way that agencies will have to adapt or die, those proclaiming to be experts or gurus who can do branding on a freelance basis will have to expand their skillset. For the most part, such people are driven to stay up to date and won’t have a problem with this.

That said, there will no doubt be those who struggle to adapt and want to keep on writing the same types of sales pages and pitching the same type of creative to their clients. As these wane in effectiveness, so will their businesses.

9) Wearable format

In 2016, wearable devices like the Apple Watch (and whatever gets rolled out in the next few months) will probably move from fringe and toward mainstream. With mass adoption comes mass opportunity, so brands will need to look into how they can get themselves in front of users of these devices in a native format.

Native means working within screen size restrictions, limited app offerings, and forming partnerships with companies who have some hold in relevant markets.

10) Smart automation

As time saving and automation tools become more prevalent, brands will develop best practices for automating their marketing process. Please note: this does not necessarily mean automating everything you can.

In fact, some of the strongest brands are able to pick out situations where automation can still be genuine while saving time, and then also hone in on areas where interaction should be kept more authentic and manual. Perhaps even a new meta market of products who help brands identify which parts of their process they should automate will even arise.

Is the Party Over Now that the FCC Passed Net Neutrality?

As you probably heard by now, the Federal Communications Commission recently approved new rules based on the principles of “net neutrality” that essentially finally put some sort of regulations over Internet usage. Some are calling it the “Equal Opportunity Act” for Internet speeds and access to websites.

But is this ultimately good or bad for the typical Internet user?

First of All, What Is Net Neutrality?

People banter the term “net neutrality” around like they understand what it means, but what the heck is it, really?

Net neutrality is the concept that your Internet provider should be a neutral gateway to everything that’s online. It shouldn’t act as a gatekeeper that decides to load some sites slower than others or try to extract fees for faster service.

Another way of looking at it is that net neutrality is a concept in which Internet service providers (ISPs) can’t discriminate when it comes to Internet traffic.

On February 26, the FCC voted 3 to 2 to adopt net neutrality rules to, as it declared in its announcement of the vote “protect the open Internet”.

Why Do We Need Net Neutrality?

So why should Internet users be concerned with net neutrality of the Internet? There’s plenty of great reasons.

First, without net neutrality, ISPs could, in theory, demand more money from companies like Hulu or Amazon to speed up traffic to their sites. Conversely, they could slow down traffic from sites that aren’t willing to pony up the extra cash.

Is this a big deal? Yes , it is. In fact, it’s a very big deal.

For example, during peak periods in the US about 30% of Internet traffic comes from a single service: Netflix. So let’s say your Internet provider is AT&T. They might tell Netflix, “We want you to pay us double what you pay now or else we are going to slow down your streaming speeds so that people watching ‘House of Cards’ will ditch it because it keeps dropping in the middle of President Frank Underwood’s best scenes.”

Or AT&T could cut a deal with Amazon making them their prime video service and speeding up their delivery to their customers at the expense of slowing down Hulu or Netflix.

At the FCC did was to get rid of all those scenarios and create a more level playing field for everybody.

So What Did the FCC Do, Again?

Technically, what the FCC did was vote to reclassify broadband access as a “telecommunications service under Title II”.

In English, what that means is that the FCC made broadband a utility, which in turn gives the FCC a lot more regulatory power over Internet providers.

This all began back in 2010, when the FCC actually passed rules that made the Internet neutral. But in January 2014, Verizon filed a lawsuit claiming that the federal agency didn’t have the authority to make such a declaration. The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit agreed with Verizon, but added that the FCC could reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service. That way it would have the authority.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler did just that. And when Republicans in Congress recently dropped their opposition to the new rules – because the Democrats wouldn’t support it and they didn’t want to be the only ones left twisting in the wind – the stage was set for the FCC’s historic vote.

What Does This Mean for Me?

The FCC’s vote will ban three basic things:

1. Blocking – Broadband providers can’t block access to legal content, apps, services or non-harmful devices.

2. Throttling – Broadband providers can’s impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, apps, services or non-harmful devices.

3. Prioritization – Broadband providers can’t favor some lawful traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration. The rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.

This is a big, bold move by the FCC and the consequences for Internet users probably will be felt for years to come.

Top 5 Reasons to Use YouTube for Your Business

Top 5 Reasons to Use YouTube for Your Business

For years, YouTube has led the ranks as the most popular social media site for videos. Yet, even with over 800 million regular users, the number of viewers is expected to grow. While many people started out going to YouTube for its music videos, pranks, and other entertainment videos, the site has gone on to help numerous businesses gain exposure across the globe.

If you’re still wondering if YouTube is right for your own business, consider the following 5 benefits, which apply to every company, no matter how large or small:

* You can create as many company videos as you want on YouTube. In addition, you can whatever kind of video you wish as long as it follows YouTube’s Terms of Service. Commercials, interviews, Q&A sessions, product displays, and company tours are among just a few of the videos that can help promote your business.

Not only that, but you can optimize your YouTube videos with appropriate geographic keyword terms related to your industry; this will help you pull in more local viewers.

* YouTube offers a few advertisement choices which allow you to either create videos geared towards a specific audience, or place ads into your own channel for extra earnings. Adwords for Videos allows business videos to be strategically placed as commercials throughout other similar videos so that your company can be exposed to a larger audience. Additionally, you can incorporate Google AdSense into your YouTube channel, which will help you earn residual income from views.

* There’s no need to post long videos on YouTube in order to get your audience’s attention. In fact, most viewers appreciate short videos between three to five minutes. The majority of the most popular videos on YouTube’s top charts have consistently been those that are under five minutes. You also won’t need fancy equipment if you’re just getting started. While it’s true that the best videos on YouTube are clear, crisp, and provide high-definition viewing, you can create similar videos with just the basics. A high-quality camera, tripod, ample lighting, and video editing software will have you on your way to creating custom videos.

* YouTube videos are watched more frequently than any other social media and/or video site. With millions of worldwide viewers visiting on a regular basis, you have an excellent chance of your videos getting a lot of exposure. Keep in mind, however, that since YouTube is such a popular site, thousands of videos are uploaded every day. In order to maximize your chances of getting the highest publicity, you’ll need to make your channel stand out with consistent uploads of entertaining, educational, and engaging content.

* YouTube allows you to create your own channel and profile centered on your business. With a wide range of options, you can customize your YouTube profile with unique colors, photos, keywords, and company information. YouTube’s “Featured” tab allows you to also create professional backgrounds according to category. Examples include a blogger, creator, or networking background. Last but not least, you’ll be able link back to your company website and blog by simply plugging your links into your video descriptions, your “About Me” section, and directly onto your channel description.

4 Disruptive Trends to Watch Out for in the second half of 2015

There are certain events that happen in marketing that change the face of the way business is conducted forever.

For example, in 2004 who could have guessed that a software program invented by a geeky undergraduate in a Harvard University dorm room designed to make it easier to meet girls would have such a profound effect on the way people communicate with each other in the 21st Century? Yet Facebook has done exactly that.

Or flash back to 2007, when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs introduced a new gadget that he promised would alter the way people not only used the telephone, but accessed the Internet, shopped for the products and services they wanted, and were entertained. He was right: Today the iPhone and its imitators are used all day every day by billions of people worldwide.

 

Identifying Disruptors

Facebook, the iPhone and other game-changing developments are what are known as disruptors. They change the rules, alter behavior, and shake the very foundations of the marketplace. Once these genies are let out of their respective bottles, it’s practically impossible to imagine a world without them.

Knowing how to spot disruptors before they come onto the scene is a skill that needs to be developed. Some of these advancements occur organically and unexpectedly, as was the case of Facebook. I doubt that even Mark Zuckerberg knew what he had when he developed the social media platform’s prototype between classes at Harvard.

Others are developed in secret, under tight security. That’s how the iPhone was able to take the world – and especially techies – by surprise (and capture such an enormous market share of the mobile industry). Nobody saw it coming.

 

4 Potential Disruptors

While nobody knows for sure which new technology or software is going to turn the world upside down, it’s possible to take an educated guess. Here are four potential disruptors to watch in the coming year and beyond:

Wearable Technology – People laughed when Google Glass was first introduced in 2012 as a prototype. But in the ensuing years, wearable technology has become cutting edge. Apple has responded with its iWatch, and is rumored to be developing even further tech devices that can be worn while used. And businesses and industries are now adjusting to their workers wearing their web access devices while on the job in the same way they were forced to deal with employees bringing their cell phones to work in the late 1990s.

Driverless Vehicles – The technology for driverless cars and other vehicles has existed for many years. Using GPS, radar, laser-guided cameras and other devices, cars, trucks, taxis and even forklifts can now move more safely and efficiently that those driven by humans. But the automobile industry and others are justifiably concerned about consumer pushback to such technologies. That’s why they are slowly introducing the concept to the public through such things as cars that can parallel park themselves, cars with 360-degree cameras, auto-braking and collision deterrent devices.

Digital Money – Right now, there is a battle going on for control of your virtual wallet. Some companies like PayPal and Google Wallet are winning while others, like BitCoin, are failing. But eventually, safe, hassle-free digital commerce will replace the inconvenience of carrying cash and payments from your smart phone or other device will be universally accepted.

Streaming Media Content – Consumers have spoken. They prefer the convenience of watching the movies and programming they prefer via streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon to being tied to network or cable TV schedules. The industry observers who have been predicting the fall of the networks for years are now adding cable and satellite providers to the list of potential victims.