Your Website and Inbound Marketing: Why They Need Each Other

Your Website and Inbound Marketing: Why They Need Each Other

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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Just like any relationship, your website and inbound marketing need to work together to make your business succeed. To help you reach your goals, inbound marketing must undergo four stages.

  1. Attract – In this stage, you turn strangers into visitors and get to know each other.
  2. Convert – You have to convince them that you’ve got what they’re looking for so they’ll stick around.
  3. Close – Going through your products and information, they give in and become your customers.
  4. Delight – Happy customers turn into promoters. They spread the good word giving you free advertisement.

Sounds easy to achieve, right? Not quite.

Attracting relevant traffic might be easy with the help of keyword-optimised content, social media marketing, and paid social advertising. However, if the rest of your website is not optimised for search or your user experience is poor, don’t expect amazing outcomes.

A website created for your user’s needs and optimised for search can make a huge impact on your inbound results. Focus on optimisation so that users can find it easily. Consider these following areas:

  • Budget for your website
  • Control over the website changes
  • A Content Management System (CMS) in line with SEO
  • An understanding of the content you want to offer in your website
  • Your branding and user journey

Don’t know where to start? Here is a list of essentials that will help make your inbound and content marketing successful.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

Basic

Your website needs basic necessities to function well with your content marketing effort. These are:

  • Insights - Your website is not about you. It’s about what your customers need to hear from you to make informed decisions. This is why you need an understanding of your customers’ buying habits, keywords, and preferences so you can apply these on your website.
  • A Flexible CMS - Your content management system (CMS) should let you easily publish content directly to the Web as well as agile and responsive enough to let you update your content, add links, and tinker with the design yourself. This way, you can optimise it accordingly.
  • A strong brand - Your brand is who you are. Make sure your clients can identify with it.
  • Responsive design - A helpful user experience across all your devices will make your prospects and customers go back for more.
  • A strategically beautiful design - This helps catch your prospects’ attention, get your message across, and help them act.
  • Strong product or service pages - Give your customers strong visuals that are descriptive and compelling.

Intermediate

If you’ve gone past the basics, you can move up the scale and apply these strategies to get more traffic to your site:

  • Optimise your web pages - Make sure your web pages are SEO-friendly, answer your prospects’ questions, and are regularly updated.
  • Use a strong Call-To-Action (CTA) - A call to action helps convert your viewers to leads as well as get them to provide their details so make sure your blogs have one. Make them brief and use strong verbs such as “Sign up”, “Learn more”, or “Get started”.
  • Create landing pages that capture leads - A landing page is very useful because it is where your website visitors land when they first reach your site. Make sure it attracts and engages the right audience and convinces them to respond to your call-to-action.

Advanced

Now, you’re ready to level up. What do you need when you’ve reached this stage?

  • Case studies - As previously discussed, your website is not about you but your clients so talk about them and the results they’ve reaped.
  • Content that solves visitors’ problems - A great way to go about this is to talk to your prospects about their pain points and their challenges.
  • A blog and a resource section - Attract your personas with high-quality, valuable, and educational content. This is a must if you want to keep your customers.
  • Personalised web content and experiences - Different people from anywhere in the world are looking at your web pages 24/7—at least that’s what you’re hoping for. This is where automation comes in. You need to adapt your web pages to whoever is looking at it. Use automation tools that will allow you to do this.
  • Implement a lead nurturing workflow - A lead nurturing workflow leads to higher conversion rates and increased engagement with your contacts using automated touches. It helps you close more educated and qualified customers faster so make use of it!

Conclusion

A well-planned and properly executed inbound marketing helps you earn the attention of your customers. It also makes your company easy to be found and draws customers into your business. Do it correctly and your prospects will surely find their way to your website and make your business soar.

How to Use WordPress and HubSpot Together for Your Business’ Success

How to Use WordPress and HubSpot Together for Your Business’ Success

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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Like two sides of a coin, HubSpot and WPEngine are very different but work purposely for the same goal. With their recent official tie-up, users can now enjoy easy access to HubSpot’s plugin and tools on certain templates. So, how do you make use of them as complementary platforms?

If you are already using WordPress as your content management system (CMS) and WPEngine as your hosting provider, adding HubSpot into the mix will help you reap benefits. How?

  • Embedding HubSpot forms can help you in capturing leads and adding them to segmented lists.
  • Implementing automated email marketing can help you engage with leads after they have submitted a form.
  • Adding live chat or chatbots can help you in scoring leads and closing deals. They also provide faster and more specific answers to your customers’ questions.
  • Helps in tracking visitors and conversion rates so you can update or refine content thereby improving your site’s performance.

The good thing about this is that you can level up your marketing, sales, and customer service/support capabilities on the same WordPress dashboard you’re using.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

Why you need WPEngine apart from your existing HubSpot CMS and CRM.

Activities that require you to run server-side code such as upvoting, commenting, or creating new posts require a fully custom database which is not possible to do on HubSpot because of some restrictions. What HubSpot can offer you is its HubDb which only works like an Excel spreadsheet.

Another benefit you can get from building a site on WordPress with WPEngine as the hosting provider is the security it provides. In addition, it will allow your users to create their individual accounts. So if your marketing website is built on HubSpot, don’t hesitate to build your customer forum on WordPress under a subdomain.

WPEngine also has a staging environment and the backup system. In this staging environment, you can play with a copy of your live site and make new changes and features that won’t affect the live one. Once you’re good to go, just click a button and the staging site is copied to the live one. It doesn’t stop there. If you want to revert back to the previous version, you can easily do that, thanks to WPEngine’s automatic backup feature.

If you’re already a HubSpot user, make use of WPEngine to create something more complicated while allowing HubSpot to capture leads. Make use of their partnership and make your business soar higher!

Useful Tips To Help You Get More Leads with PPC Campaigns

Useful Tips To Help You Get More Leads with PPC Campaigns

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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Are you attempting to improve your existing pay-per-click (PPC) campaign or start from scratch? eCommerce and services sites need to have PPC ads in place. Once people who are searching for your services or products on Google click your ads, they are taken straight to your page earning you more traffic. You can follow these tips and master the art of PPC.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

Beginning Stages

Aside from SEO, PPC ads are a great way to increase your visibility thus generating more leads. People using Google usually have a product or service already in mind. This is why you have to carefully consider your positioning and market share. Here’s how you can start:

1. Make Your Copy Matter

The content you use in your PPC ads is in control of your business so make sure they are of high quality and relevance! You should place great importance on the keywords you want to rank for as well as on the extra information or extensions you want to share such site links and promotional and location extensions. A good copywriter can help you create thoughtful and well-written content which in turn generate better leads.

2. Hit Your Target

Optimise your ads to reach your particular personas based on age, gender, previous searches, interests, household income, and location as well as devices such as desktop, mobile, tablet, smart TV and time schedule. Carefully tailoring your ads to people who will respond favourably will also bring you better ROI.

Existing Ad Campaigns

If you already have existing ads and feel that you’re not getting the results you want, try some of these options and see what kind of impact they bring. They would help you get more leads without having to shell out more money.

1. Expand your keywords

Expand your keyword list before creating new ads by mining SEO data and looking into unused keyword verticals. You can also mine the search query data generated in your existing campaigns.

2. Improve your quality score

Bring your ads to a higher rung by revisiting your target keywords and increasing your bid with match keyword phrases. You may also opt to target branded keywords. With this, you may get to enjoy Google’s generosity and be rewarded with a high-quality score with a lower CPC (cost per click) and a higher position among other ads.

3. Consider using new platforms

There is no doubt about Google when it comes to PPC ads but other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and Bai Du may also help in generating qualified leads and in reaching out to better audiences. Different platforms like LinkedIn, Adbrite, and Advertising.com may also help you reach your target market if you base it on data research.

4. Take note of your mobile ads

Optimise your ads for mobile to keep up with the changing times. A lot of people are using mobile for their searches and if you’re aiming to have ads that drive direct phone calls, make sure you offer a click to call feature. When working on mobile ads, consider the following:

  • Mobile screens are tiny so make sure your ads are short, clearly written, concise, and impactful.
  • Segment your mobile campaigns from your PPC campaigns to see how well they are performing with the data coming through.
  • Use mobile-responsive landing pages to ensure that the UX is completely optimised to suit your audience and their behaviours, which can lead to a conversion.

5. Pay attention to your remarketing

Make sure you revisit your remarketing ads regularly and optimise them once you receive more data on their performance. Direct these ads to target individuals who have already shown interest in your services. Your remarketing ads will then help channel them through the funnel towards your desired goal and capture them as a lead.

Conclusion

Getting your PPC campaign right may be hard to master but if you consider these tips, you are well on your way to attaining more leads.

3 Tips to Keep In Mind When Developing Your Website’s Navigation

3 Tips to Keep In Mind When Developing Your Website’s Navigation

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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Developing a website is a balancing act that you can easily learn. You have to make sure data-driven decision making and usability concerns conform to the design of website navigation systems. Navigation helps users find information and functionality, encouraging them to take desirable actions. It allows them to get from one part of a site to another and includes standard elements such as search bars, top-level menu items, and dropdown lists. It also provides users with a sense of context and comfort as they explore new places.

Website navigation conventions may be challenged but should not break out from traditional navigation systems. It must allow visitors to visit a website for the first time and immediately let them get around knowingly, regardless whether the content on that site is familiar or completely foreign.

To make sure your website can easily be navigated, consider the following tips in your design:

Your Website: To DIY or Not

Tip #1: Think twice before putting up a persona-specific website

Developing a clear, well-documented image of your client’s buyer personas can help you in developing your website’s information architecture. However, persona-specific navigation forces your visitors to self-identify and can make them feel that they are alienated. You might also miss out on some profiles or fail to identify their need which decreases the availability of information which can lead them to nowhere. Therefore, avoid a navigational structure with “I am an xxx searching for xxx.”

Tip #2: Do not focus on format-based navigation

Some developers believe that users are seeking out videos when visiting a website. Video is a great way to deliver information about your business in an engaging way. It also increases time-on-page and promotes social sharing and organic growth. However, you must keep in mind that people are coming to your site to seek out answers to specific questions, not specific types of content unless of course, you are Youtube or Netflix. Therefore, avoid resource categories like “Videos”, “Ebooks” and “Blog Posts” but rather use “Understanding xxx” or “How to xxx.”

Best Practice #3: Steer clear of branded terminology for SEO

The goal of search engine optimization is to land your business on the first page of search results for certain terms. To achieve this, you have to generate high-quality content with your target keywords among other strategies which may cost you time and money.

Some businesses coin new keywords then disseminate them with hopes that once they increase in popularity, they will be the first one there. However, branding may or may not do the trick. Top-level navigation is focused on helping users find what they need and people normally type in keywords that are ‘unbranded.” SEO is a vital factor but if it doesn’t help navigation do its job, it’s just being detrimental to the user experience.

Conclusion

Your website should answer to how users call your product or service, not how you call them. Before breaking out from the best practices, consider the long history of standardized navigation systems as well as the high costs of breaking from these conventions. Otherwise, just go with the norm.

7 Elements of a Winning SEO Strategy

7 Elements of a Winning SEO Strategy

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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The goal of SEO is to make it easy for your target audience to find your website. It’s about assisting your clients and creating value for them. On top of this, you’d also want your company to be the top result on Google when someone searches for your brand.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

On-page SEO and off-page SEO

Not every content on your website is going to rank well but when you plan each one carefully, you can drive traffic to every page on your website. To do this, you start with a mixture of on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO allows you to control the aspects of your search ranking directly within your website while off-page SEO involves contacting outside domains and encouraging them to link externally to your site.

So, how do you go about creating an SEO strategy that works?

1. Get to know the people you want to visit your site

This involves your buyer personas. The process also takes on a different approach if you are an established company or a brand new company.

For established companies:

  • Look at the explicit information associated with your clients.
  • Consider the size of their company.
  • Consider the industry they’re in.
  • Types of pain points your company solves for them.

Then, look for search terms and keywords related to these issues to build out your keyword strategy.

For new companies:

  • Decide on what types of customers you want to attract
  • Determine what problems you’d like to solve.
  • Ensure that the traffic you generate is being converted to customers.

You have to make sure that when prospects get to your website, they are guided through a conversion path to turn them to customers with each action they take. Creating relevant content can help move your prospects through your sales funnel. This is the value of SEO.

2. Conduct proactive keyword research

One simple way to do this is by paying attention to autofill words that pop up on Google’s search bar. From here, you will get an idea about what keywords are often used and what types of articles are popular. You can also go to your competitor’s sites and audit their content. If they have content about a relevant topic that you don’t have, then make sure you also come up with one. This way, you can show up against them on searches. You can also do additional research on the topic so you’ll know what people are thinking about. This thought process can help a person get to your company.

A good SEO strategy helps bridge the gap between what people are searching for and what your company helps solve for. You have to create content that will rank for what they’re looking for and then guide them to how your company can help with that.

For more in-depth keyword research, you can use tools like SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, and Moz to dig into specifics like search volume and competition.

3. Write valuable content

Create a post that your personas would find interesting and would want to read. Avoid keyword stuffing and talking entirely about your company. Keep in mind that your personas are looking for something of value to them. Your content should be useful and contain valuable keywords too.

4. Work on getting your content to rank

Once your content is published, Google will index it and you need to get it to rank. How?

  • If you’re an established company, you can share your content with your database of people through email promotions, a newsletter, or a blog subscription. Make sure it’s relevant and well-spaced — you wouldn’t want to spam them!
  • Make use of your social media to promote your content and think of ways to fuel interactions from readers. Quality is better than quantity when creating leads so always aim to provide value first. The traffic will follow.
  • Make sure you are linking internally. Every time you publish a new post, go through your existing content, look for keywords related to your new post, then add links from those posts to the new content. Don’t have pieces to link from? Then, you need to come up with them immediately.

Internal linking can help you create a topic cluster, which is an organizational map where a core idea and corresponding points are linked, creating comprehensive coverage of a subject. With a topic cluster strategy, you will have a relevant core topic that you want to rank for.

A popular topic cluster strategy is by using a pillar page and subtopic structure. When building a pillar page, you take the core topic from a topic cluster and create a long-form, comprehensive piece of content about it. Then, you can create detailed subtopic posts related to the main idea which you will then link to the core pillar page.

The pillar and subtopic page should be promoted to outside domains that can provide links as well. Whether you’re using a pillar page and subtopic structure or not, you should leverage off-page SEO to improve your ranking. If you’re planning to ask someone with a complementary website to link to your site, give them a reason to get do so such as a social media promotion offering or a link to their site in return.

5. Be Patient

Once you’ve done all the steps mentioned above, the next thing to do is wait. You should be able to see any movement within 30 to 60 days. Until then, you should continue to identify new relevant keywords for your buyer personas and create content around them.

Characteristics of growth-driven design:

6. Optimize

Posts should always be relevant and optimized. Otherwise, they might not do well over time. Group your posts to high, medium, and low performers and look for ways to reduce the number of low performers. To do this, you can either unpublish them if they’re no longer relevant or pull them up to medium performers through optimization.

Keep in mind that in doing this, you are aiming to increase your domain authority which is intended to predict how well a given site is going to rank on Google. Having a higher domain authority will naturally rank you above a site with lower authority. Same goes for page authority. If you’ve got more pages with high authority, your domain authority will be higher.

Google considers authority from both a user and a technical point of view. The content you produce can be measured as high performance by Google through traffic, time-on-page, click-through rate, and bounce rate. This can make you more authoritative since Google perceives you as creating more value, which increases your SERP rank.

From a technical perspective, having more pages in the 20 range can pull your average down so if you’re trying to get your domain authority to be a 50, eliminate your low performing pages to boost your average.

7. Fix Technical Errors

Correcting technical errors is part of SEO. For example, if you get 404 errors, search crawlers will notice that your site cannot provide optimal value for searchers. This will have an impact on your search engine results page (SERP) rankings.

Use tools and documentation from Google, Moz, and SEMrush to resolve errors on your site. They can categorize the errors into high, medium, and low priority issues. Once you’ve resolved even just the high ones first, you’d be surprised to see a spike in your site’s traffic.

Conclusion

It may take a while to see your SEO strategy take form so don’t be too hasty to change your content. You can first pay attention to the trend lines and leading indicators. As your domain gets older, your authority and rankings on different keywords will increase. Just keep on with the best SEO practices and you’ll soon reap the benefits.

Growth-Driven Design: Agile for Web

Growth-Driven Design: Agile for Web

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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What comes to your mind when you think of a website design? Is it the look of the pages? The images that come with the content? A lot of people tend to think of these things but it’s all wrong. Majority of businesses find themselves blowing their budget on a website which turns out to be futile. It simply doesn’t deliver. This is because most websites are designed to be pretty. They aren’t designed to perform. Wouldn’t it be nice if your website is not just pretty but is also designed with more important things in mind such as strategy, lead generation, goal attainment, and keeping your customers happy?

Design is the most important part of a strong marketing platform. It impacts a lot of key assets that are used to attract, convert, and please potential leads and customers. These include the brand logo, websites, social media platforms, paid ads, and physical materials. A superb and consistent design identifies your company and can make or break it.

This is where agile development comes in. Agile development is used in reference to start-up companies, especially in the software space. It divides tasks into short phases of work, with constant reassessment and adaptation of plans.

Web design should take the agile development approach with a focus on the frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans. It is an iterative development process that
focuses on your key analytics and data, surely not on a pretty front page.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

A Shift to Agile

With a Growth-Driven Design (GDD), you build and optimize your website so that it can achieve your goals. The key elements involved here are analytics, buyer personas, and data, aligning the design elements with conversion funnels, content, and structure.

Growth-driven design websites are often optimized for performance. You don’t stop looking for the best ways to connect with your audience. It’s not a new concept but traditional agency approaches to digital design are outdated and must, therefore, be challenged.

So what makes GDD different from traditional web design? If you have ever seen a building blueprint, you’ll know that everything is decided upon prior to construction. This is comparable to traditional web design. With GDD, it starts with a smart and agile process based on what you believe will work and then implemented quickly. This includes a framework and relevant content to connect with your main personas. Once it goes live, you take the actual data to make decisions and changes, applying quantitative and qualitative research strategies to identify and build the next feature or iteration of your website.

Once you find what has the most impact on the results and goals such as traffic or conversion percentages, you repeat the process, keeping the website components that work and optimizing what doesn’t. Now, let’s take a look at the three main pillars of GDD:

  1. Fewer risks compared to traditional website design – GDD’s shorter process allows you to focus on real impact and continuous learning.
  2. Continuous learning and improvements – WIth regular testing, analyzing, and learning about visitors, you will be able to reach peak performance.
  3. Closed-loop reporting – Other departments such as the marketing and sales team will also learn about visitor behaviour, helping them improve marketing and sales tactics.

Growth-Driven Design: The Works

Traditional web design often talks about the company whereas growth-driven design focuses on solving the problems of potential customers. You should keep in mind that your website should be about your customers, not you. This is why it is important to have a well-oiled marketing machine that not only delivers content but also solves problems. Now let’s take a look at how we can develop a strategic plan for your website design project.

The first phase of any website design project is to develop a comprehensive strategy, whether it’s for a traditional or growth-driven design. These key points will help you create the perfect strategy.

  • Goals and planning - First, ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish with your website. It is also very important to align your website with sales goals via inbound marketing!
  • Personas - Identify who your personas are so you can centre your web design around them.
  • Research - Get to know your customers by conducting quantitative and qualitative research and use the analytics to your advantage. You can gather insights from actual users or potential customers with heat maps and surveys such as HotJar.
  • Hypotheses - Use the data you’ve collected and hypothesize about your audience, focusing on your value proposition and key persona pain points first. This will help you create the first LaunchPad iteration of your website.
  • Page strategy - Map out your dream site with UX in mind. Stick to the most important elements and align them with your buyer’s journey. Track the most successful topics which will be useful for building for future iterations.

Your Wish List

In this stage, you should come up with ideas on what to add, remove, or edit on your site. You and your team should look at the data you have gathered so you can decide what kind of pages or content can support potential visitors. What should your list include?

  • Changes for user experience, visitor tools, features, functionality, design, and the most helpful website sections and pages.
  • Your wants and needs. You can decide on this by looking at impacts, efforts, and metrics.
  • Your priorities. Together with your team, decide on what you’ll tackle first.

After The Launch

Once you’ve got your website up and running, you should then shift your efforts to continuous improvement, the next growth iterations, and tests to run. You can accomplish this through an ongoing cycle.

  1. Planning – Look at the changes you’ve implemented and analyze the results. Then, refer to your wish list and decide on what you would implement next based on the following:
  • Performance - Check if your website is reaching the goals you’ve set up. Again, refer to your wishlist and see what else you can implement to improve your results.
  • Collaborate with the marketing and sales team - Gather new and useful information that you can add to your wishlist.
  • Prioritize - Once you’ve updated your wishlist with the new data you’ve collected, decide on which one to prioritize. They should be focused on boosting conversion, improving user experience, personalization to the user, and building marketing assets.
  1. Developing – With your new list of changes or additions, implement and develop them on your website.
  • Ask your team to implement the list of items you have chosen.
  • Test the impact each change has on your website and measure the results.
  1. Learning – Growth-driven design lets you learn from every change you make. You can always go back through them and learn from your edits and additions.
  • Allow enough time to pass then collect and analyze your data. From here, you can begin to see if your hypotheses are correct which can help you adjust accordingly. You can even turn your hypotheses and experiments into valuable content for your audience.
  • Ask yourself if the changes made any impact. The results should tell you something about your visitors.
  1. Transferring – Record everything you’ve learned so you can transfer it to other parts of your website which can effectively magnify success in future iterations. Remember, the growth-driven design process is a continuous cycle and there is always going to be something you can improve on. Make sure you’re taking the time to repeat the process.

Implementation Tools

You need to look for ways to measure your initial website performance and the results you get from the growth-driven design changes. You can use inbound marketing tools such as Google Analytics, HubSpot, or other customer relationship management (CRM) for this.

  1. Drivers – Drivers bring users to your website and will help you analyze and understand your visitors’ purpose. You can use tools such as feedback polls, surveys, and user tests to determine your drivers. SurveyMonkey is a popular tool for surveys.
  2. Barriers – Barriers could cause users to leave your website because of the things your site does or does not have. These could be pricing issues, lack of trust, confusing or missing calls to action, bad user experience, and so on.

    To rectify this, you can use tools such as heatmaps, feedback polls, conversion funnels, surveys, and recruiting user testers like HotJar.
  3. Calls-to-Action – Calls-to-Action (CTAs) are specific pieces of your website that promote conversions which can take the form of offers to a valuable piece of content or other information. With a CTA, you can convert first-time visitors to view your latest blog post or offer someone who is in the decision-making stage a demo of your product.

    CTAs can easily be managed by HubSpot. They often point to e-books, webinars, and other premium content.

Cost-Benefit of GDD

The goal of growth-driven design is to preserve resources and time as well as eliminate wasteful changes through continuous user-driven improvements. How does it differ from traditional web design?

Characteristics of traditional website design:

  • Requires a large upfront cost
  • Takes a minimum of three months to complete
  • Cost and time can fluctuate
  • May lack updates for 1 to 2 years after launch
  • Assumes everything is perfect and perform as planned

Characteristics of growth-driven design:

  • The cost can be divided into manageable monthly fees
  • Can be optimized for any combination of cost, schedule, or scope
  • Shorter launch time
  • Allows for constant improvements so you can focus on real impact and continuous learning
  • Tightly integrated with marketing and sales

Effect of GDD on Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing and growth-driven design are both about testing, working together to produce results. As an example, let’s say you have a landing page that doesn’t perform well. You can see that there is traffic but most of the visitors are not converting. This is where the analytics come in. From here, if you see that the users who fail to convert are coming from mobile devices, you can hypothesize that they don’t want to fill out the long-form that you have on the landing page.

Your next step would be to test out a smart form that only asks for the name and email when a mobile user lands on the page. Run the campaign for a month and if you discover that the landing page has increased conversion rate by let’s say 20 per cent, you can then transfer this information to all of your landing pages and implement smart forms for mobile
users site-wide.

What to Look for in a Growth-Driven Design Partner

With millions of web designers out there, your next design partner should possess these qualities:

  • Has a track record with inbound marketing - Creating an inbound focused website can mean the difference between the new design and a website that significantly increases leads and opportunities.
  • Expertise in CMS - Look for someone who is experienced with the content management system on which you are building your site. This will ensure your site can be easily updated without the need for constant developer help.
  • Business-minded - Your design partner should have a clear understanding of how your website can impact your bottom line. This ensures your investment generates a return.
  • Uses clean and modern designs - Your partner should be adept at applying clean and modern design elements to websites. They should know how to avoid design glitches and are detail-oriented.
  • Trusted process - Find a design partner that follows a sound design and development process for both your launchpad site and each monthly sprint. A trusted process will minimize cost and schedule overruns and demonstrate expertise in agile web development.
  • Personal experience - Look for a partner who will do the job himself! Design companies that rely on interns, off-shoring, and contractors are not a good idea.
  • Personalization - Seek a partner who can demonstrate expertise in personalization. This can provide a better visitor experience and enhance conversion rates.

Conclusion

The growth-driven design puts the customers first by looking at the analytics and
assessing their behaviour. Figuring out how your potential customers are behaving on a website can help you provide them with the information they need. SEO should be a standard part of every website to position it for success. It should be integrated and handled internally.

Finally, make sure you apply the growth-driven design concept of “plan, develop, learn, and transfer” to your business strategy from conception to completion, and you’ll be happy with the results.

5 Inbound Marketing Strategies You Should Have

5 Inbound Marketing Strategies You Should Have

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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What is inbound marketing? Inbound marketing is a very useful tool that can help you draw customers to your products and services. It comes in the form of social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization, and branding. However, blasting customers and prospects with messages hoping that they’ll buy from you is not a good idea. You need to engage and provide them with valuable content which will help them better understand their challenges and pain points.

With the use of relevant content that answers prospects’ questions and helps them understand the potential solutions to their problems, inbound marketing can help you attract your target market. This experience helps when they’re ready to avail of the solution that they need from you.

These five inbound marketing strategies can help you attract and engage with your prospects.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

1. Social Media

When it comes to facilitating the creation and sharing of information, interests, and ideas, nothing beats social media. The virtual communities and networks do only aim to automate posts to drive people to a brand but also to create an impactful experience for the audience on the platform they are already using. This is why when utilizing social media, you should be authentic and align your content with your brand.

A good example of this would be creating an infographic that summarizes information in a way that is easy to understand. When you provide value to your audience, you can increase your social media engagement and organically attract people to your content.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is a must-have tool in inbound marketing since it helps increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. It makes it easy for the people you want to find your website navigate there organically. This is why there’s a great deal of value in having a website that is designed for lead generation.

SEO and inbound marketing work together, revolving around the creation of valuable content for your prospects. Your SEO strategy should be centered around your buyer personas and before crafting content, you should conduct proactive keyword research to understand what your personas are searching for. This can simplify your task and as you continue observing SEO best practices, it will drive high rankings and make it easy for your prospects to find your content.

3. Email Marketing

The goal of email marketing is to send valuable and relevant emails to your prospects. It provides you with an opportunity to choose who you want to talk to and how you want to go about reaching them. To develop a stellar email campaign, you need to gain a better understanding of the type of content and messaging your prospects are likely to engage with.

Keep in mind that CTA’s may work for some personas while newsletters may be attractive for others. A downward trend in your open and click-through rates in your emails means that you should reevaluate who you’re sending them to. You should also ensure you are providing value to your contacts otherwise, you won’t be able to drive successful conversions.

4. Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing gives you the opportunity to provide a personalized approach to doing business online. By providing an automated conversation with your website visitors, it will move your buyers through marketing and sales funnels.

Conversational marketing techniques apply seamlessly to an inbound marketing strategy. However, it can only be successful when supported by relevant content. Chatbots are engineered to be engaging and are a good form of communication tactics. They can also help you drive your lead generation as long as you provide your prospects with something they’ll gain value from.

5. Partner Marketing

In partner marketing, two or more brands collaborate using a variety of marketing programs to achieve their business objectives. It can help boost awareness and scale business by growing the network through link building. Customers are also more likely to react positively when two or more companies collaborate on new, valuable content together. This is a great way to build authentic relationships while organically attracting high-fit leads.

To develop your partner marketing strategy, make sure you establish mutual goals, co-host events, create co-branded content, ensure careful reporting, and set partnership tiers. These best practices can help your customers find the authenticity and credibility they are looking for.

Conclusion

Take advantage of multiple strategies at once so you can diversify your risk and allow your marketing efforts to be successful even if one tactic doesn’t seem to work. This can help you leverage your content. Make sure you also evaluate their performance constantly to find out which one is the most effective and which one needs more push.

Why You Should Use Content Pillar Strategy

Why You Should Use Content Pillar Strategy

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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Behind every successful marketing campaign lies irresistible content that resonates with the right people. This is why a killer content marketing strategy is crucial if you want to rake in revenues. How do you make content marketing work? Two words. Content pillars.

Content pillars use a strategy that provides meaningful pieces of content that your target audience⁠—and Google⁠— will love, focusing on a specific topic or theme instead of keywords. This can include eBooks, reports, and guides.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

Why content pillars?

Using content pillars can help you narrow down content ideas and focus on the creation instead. Here is a rundown of why you should consider the strategy:

  1. Content pillars make navigating your content easier – This goes for both humans and search engines. The internet is flooded with content and information which makes it difficult for users to find what they need. By using content pillars, you can talk about your topic in a streamlined and easy to navigate way, helping users find the one they are looking for. Links in your pillar page can point them to other relevant content otherwise known as clusters.

    Making things this easy for people can help you build a loyal following and most possibly convert them to customers. You also help search engines find what they need to index and rank your site. Google favors fresh and relevant content so if you keep adding and updating your pillar posts with more cluster content, you’ll surely rank higher.

  2. Content pillars can raise rankings for linked pages – Pillar pages help Google quickly determine what your content is about. If you don’t confuse Google’s algorithm, then it’ll rank you higher in search results.

    So focus on a key topic, write cluster posts, link to relevant pages, and update regularly. Then wait for the magic to work.
  3. Content pillars help you focus your content on your customer’s needs – Knowing what your customers are looking for can help you create killer content that produces results. Make sure every piece is focused on your target audience and pique their interest to help them stay on your site longer.

    Let’s say a buyer is looking for information on how to keep her skin moisturized. So, after reading your article about this, she moves on to another related topic about day and night skincare routines, then to sun damage prevention, and so on. When she’s finally ready to buy skin-care related products, she will surely remember your brand!

Creating your content pillars

The first step in using the content pillar strategy is to understand your target audience and identify your buyer personas. You need to create different content pillars for each buyer persona that you have and give them what they want. The important things to remember in doing so are:

Growth-Driven Design has its benefits:

  • Identify the type of content your buyers are looking for.
  • Address their pain points through content.
  • Identify the keywords they are searching for.
  • Research on which content performed well historically.

The second step is to set up social listening. Go through what your target audience is talking about on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. You can set up search streams to help you monitor conversations that mention your products, brand, services, and even competitors. Take note of the topics that are mentioned, the articles that are shared, and the posts get the most attention. Use this information and back it up with keyword research for your content creation. You can use Google Adwords to search for your keywords.

The last step is to watch your competitors. See what types of pillar content they are using and what type of pieces are getting hits. You can use Buzzsumo to know what’s working for them and then use the popular topics as references for your content.

Planning your content pillars

Plan your content pillars by collecting the ideas and topics and separating them into distinct groups that will become your pillars. They don’t have to be too specific. The main category with subcategories that sprout from questions, ideas, and conversations will do the trick.

Writing your pillar page

Create your pillar page using your content ideas which will also act as the foundation where you will build your topic cluster. Four things to keep in mind:

  1. Your pillar page should only give an overview of the broad topic, letting the cluster pages expound on the smaller details. You can answer questions but make sure to give the related blogs work to do.
  2. Your content should be long-form, made up of at least 3,000 words.
  3. Don’t forget to use hyperlinks to link to cluster posts as well as to other sections within the page.
  4. Start with a killer introduction. Tell your audience something that will make them stay and read on.

Conclusion

Create an easily navigable content structure that will allow your readers to quickly head down to the section that interests them. You should also engage them by scattering related resources that answer questions throughout the page, provide a strong call to action, and consider having a comments section. These will help drive revenue from your digital channel.

The Fool-Proof Approach to Growth-Driven Web Design

The Fool-Proof Approach to Growth-Driven Web Design

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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If you are looking for a web design approach that can deliver results and bring measurable value to your business, the answer lies in a Growth-Driven Design. What is Growth-Driven Design and how can it produce better results and grow your business?

Growth-Driven Design is the smarter, more agile, and data-driven approach that minimizes the errors that traditional web design makes. It creates a huge potential for you and your business so you shouldn’t even think twice about having a web design or redesign using this innovative, growth-driven approach.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

Why Traditional Web Design is Heading Out the Door

Your website plays more roles than you realize.

  1. It is your best marketing asset and centrepiece of your marketing activities.
  2. It is where you drive all your marketing efforts.
  3. It is the first place that prospects go to when looking for information about your products or services.
  4. It is your best salesperson.

Now let’s take a look at the traditional website design process.

  • Large up-front cost - An average website typically costs between $15k and $80k upfront.
  • Requires significant time and resource - An average small to medium-sized business (SMB) website typically takes three months to complete and requires a lot of resources and energy from the design team. Not only that. It has no scaleable results to show until it gets launched.
  • Unpredictable - Most web dev projects are over budget, not on time, and not flexible which can push back any potential ROI.
  • Subjective designs with no performance guarantee - You will be held accountable for a measurable increase in a result which you have no control over.

After its launch, a website typically sits idle with no updates for 1.5 to 2 years. How can you let something you’ve spent all your time and budget on remain unchanged for years? If you do small improvements like adding blogs or landing pages, well, they don’t count.

Accept the Fact That Change is Constant

Now that you’ve been enlightened, the time has come to embrace a quick and agile web design that produces better results and ROI. This is where Growth-Driven Design comes in. It is a completely new approach and way of thinking when it comes to building and growing your website.

Growth-Driven Design has its benefits:

  • Lessens the risks associated with traditional web design - With the systematic approach to web design that shortens the time to launch, you can focus on the real impact it produces and work from there.
  • Continuous learning and improvement - Constant research, testing, and learning about visitors can promote improvements and peak performance.
  • Disseminate learnings to other channels - Growth-Driven Design is closely integrated with marketing and sales so as soon as you get new user data, you can immediately share it with them, and vice versa.

Stages of Growth-Driven Design Phase One

Now, how do you approach a Growth-Driven Design? Let’s divide the approach into two phases and here are the three stages you have to follow for phase 1:

  1. Come up with your strategy – This is where you set a solid foundation to build your Growth-Driven Design taking into consideration the following:
  • Goals - Decide on what you want to achieve with your website, what you’d like to improve from the previous one, and assess its impact on the marketing department’s goal.
  • Personas - Research and develop a detailed representation of the different types of visitors or personas that you want to attract to your site. This is very important since Growth-Driven Design is user-centred. You can group your personas based on the characteristics that your audience shares such as job title, industry, etc.
  • Quantitative Research | Website & Analytics Audit - Measure the performance of your existing website to see what’s working and what’s not. From here, you should be able to see where your users are dropping off which can help you make improvements.
  • Qualitative Research | User Research - Reach out to your existing users and learn more about them. It will be useful to understand who they are and engage with them. This will also provide you with more information for your persona profiles.
  • Fundamental Assumptions - Gather all the information together and form the fundamental assumptions about your users which are important in explaining their behaviour and motivations. This will then help you in global and page strategy as well as for future Growth-Driven Design cycles. Make sure to include assumptions such as:
  • - The location and devices that they will be accessing your website from
  • - The value proposition for each service, product, and offer
  • - What information they are looking for
  • Global and Page Strategy - Develop a global strategy for the website as a whole as well as a specific page-by-page strategy for each major page on your website. Incorporate all of the previous steps and layout exactly how to best engage and influence the user in both strategies.
  1. Create a wishlist – Next, you come up with a wishlist using your strategy takeaways together with your team. Set your existing website aside and brainstorm for creative and innovative ideas that will create an impact on your site. Include the following factors:
  • Your website section and pages
  • Marketing assets, tools, and resources
  • Modules, functionality, and special features
  • Elements of design
  • Changes in experience based on devices, location, etc.

You are not expected to implement all the ideas you have come up with at once. Some may even remain to be a “wish”. The important thing is to gather all your goals together setting aside money, time, and development skill issues. This will help you in implementing your strategy and you can add or remove items as you go along.

  1. Create a wishlist – Next, you come up with a wishlist using your strategy takeaways together with your team. Set your existing website aside and brainstorm for creative and innovative ideas that will create an impact on your site. Include the following factors:
  • Run the Pareto Principle or 80/20 analysis on your wishlist - Go back to your wishlist and determine which items you want to first implement on your Launch Pad website. Identify 20% of the items that will produce 80% of the impact and value for your website’s users. Then filter the wants and the needs and prioritize the needs, sending the wants back to the wishlist. Narrow your focus to the needs since these will create the most impact on your website.
  • Create hypothesis statements for each core action item - Creating a hypothesis statement will help you clearly see how each action item can affect your goals, the personas you’re targeting, and your expected results. You can consider the following:
  • - Expected Impact - This is the value — a single number — your visitors will get from the action item and the impact it will have on your goal.
  • - Effort Required - This value — a single number — represents a combination of the number of hours, resources, and difficulty to implement a particular action time.
  • - Metrics Measured - Here, you come up with all the specific metrics that you will need to test the action item and evaluate the correctness of your hypothesis.
  • - Definition of Complete - How would you determine if the action item completed? Figure out the factors which will be very helpful in erasing doubts in the future — when reviewing results or efficiency.
  • Web implementation process - Once you have identified the most critical action items to include on your Launch Pad site, you can run them through the standard website implementation process including:
  • - Messaging and content
  • - User experience (UX) and site architecture
  • - Inbound marketing strategy alignment
  • - Wireframes
  • - Designs
  • - Development
  • - Quality assurance and testing
  • Set up data collection - Setting up data collection can help you learn about your visitors once your Launch Pad site is live. Consider the following when collecting data:
  • - Your goals as defined in the strategy phase
  • - Your fundamental assumptions
  • - Your hypothesis statement

Stages of Growth-Driven Design Phase Two

As previously discussed, once you have launched your Launch Pad website, continuous improvement starts. Your wishlist should be re-evaluated, implemented, and updated regularly. They should revolve around your personas, providing value to each of them who visits your site. To make sure you don’t skip a step, follow these:

  1. Plan – Identify the most impactful items to implement. To do this, you must identify the following:
  • Review the performance and goals - Review the current performance of your website and compare that to your goals. This will help you identify where to improve on.
  • Conduct additional research and gather more data - This will help you see if you need to add more action items to your wishlist. Ponder on this while reviewing your performance and goals.
  • Collaborate with the marketing and sales team - Ask the marketing and sales teams if they learned something new about the target personas which you can turn into action items. For example, they might have launched a blog that yielded a lot of organic and social visitors. That particular well-received topic is a gem of information that you can use in your Growth-Driven Design program.
  • Hold another brainstorming session and prioritize your wishlist - Based on all the new information you have gathered, another brainstorming session will help you determine any new action items to add to your wishlist.

Your action items should do the following:

  • Boost conversion - These include conversion points, user path, testing value props, and split testing which are directly related to conversion rate optimization.
  • Improve user experience - These include navigation, UI improvements, and mobile experience. The goal here is to give the user a better experience, make it easier for them to navigate, find what they are looking for, and solve their problems.
  • Personalized to the user - Here, you adapt your site, calls-to-action, content offers, etc. to the interests, device or country, and previous actions that occurred on your site.
  • Build marketing assets - These include tools, marketing resources, and SEO-focused assets that will help provide value to the end-user and your company.
  • General updates on your website - Update your website with new information that comes up from time to time. These can also be added to your wishlist.

Prioritize your wishlist to high, medium, and low based on their impact on the goal of the website and value to the user. Pick the one with the most impact and implement it then you can go back for another!

  1. Develop – Get everyone on the team working and start implementing your most impactful items on the site. Each of these action items should be considered an experiment to see the impact it has on the performance of the website. Measure your experiments by setting up validation tracking around the metrics outlined in the action item. Once your experiment goes live on the site, develop a marketing campaign such as blogging to drive traffic to that section and start collecting data. During this time, build and schedule that marketing campaign with your marketing team.
  2. Learn – Review the data you collected about your visitors then use the information to validate or disprove the hypothesis on your action item card. Disseminate the positive information to everyone within the organization using a structured system for publishing. This way, you can easily reference back to it.
  3. Transfer – In this last step, you have to transfer all relevant information to other parts of your business. Look for useful patterns and proofs that they can implement in their activities. Put your recommendations together, host a meeting, and brainstorm for ways to integrate and translate the ideas into fruition.

Repeat everything

Now that you’re able to successfully complete a cycle, go back to the beginning and plan the next one. Your goal is to get better results and more insights about your visitors with each cycle. Keep in mind that the more cycles you complete, the more impact it will have on your website.

Adopting the flexible Growth-Driven Design methodology has produced huge success to companies utilizing it. Growth-Driven Design is the smarter approach to your website so start implementing it now.

Important checklist for your web design process

Important checklist for your web design process

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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Don’t you wish that launching a new website is as easy as posting a status on Facebook or Instagram? You know, upload photos, add content, click a button, and reach thousands of followers in a few short hours.

Time to wake up now. To make your website launch a little bit painless and easy, let’s look beyond the approved designs and development. Follow these simple steps and you’re on your way to a successful launch.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

Check your final design

Here, the design, development, and account management teams collaborate to ensure that all aspects of the developed site are visually aligned with the approved designs. What do you look out for?

  • InVision Mock-Ups: Check your developed pages against InVision mock-ups to see what the final design will look like. Go over the comments carefully to make sure everything is covered.
  • Stock Images: Make sure all stock images you used have been purchased and free from watermarks.
  • Favicon: Add a favicon to the site before launching. This helps in improving user experience.
  • Responsiveness: Use various devices to navigate the site and check if the design flows naturally and views correctly.
  • Fonts: Check if all the fonts are correct. If you’re using Typekit, the final domain needs to be added to the kit, not just the staging URL. Failing to do will show default fonts, which may affect your font-size and layouts.

Double-check your content

Make sure your content is proofread properly.

  • Final Copy - Check every page for grammar and spelling errors. Read through each page aloud, ensure there are spaces after periods, and make sure you got all the names correctly spelled in the About Us page.
  • Copyright - You can set the copyright date dynamically so that it’s always pulling the current year.
  • Punctuation - Check for consistent punctuation and letter-spacing especially for designs that have titles or buttons with all uppercase letters since it can be easy to miss a punctuation mark.
  • Downloadable Files - Make sure that Call-to-Action (CTA) or landing page forms are linked to the correct PDFs and that the PDFs are migrated over to the new site.

Check the functionality

People find it more engaging if they can interact with a website so make sure your site functions the way you intend it to be. It is important that you go through the following:

  • Links - Make sure all final links are inserted and are leading to the correct pages. This includes buttons or CTAs on the pages.
  • Forms - Check if test forms submit correctly and notify the right people when submitted. You can do this by filling them out yourself. Also, make sure you include a thank you message!
  • Compatibility - Check how your site looks and functions on different browsers/devices. Are the popups are actually popping up? Do the sliders slide?

It’s all about SEO

Optimize pages to land on the top spot of Google’s search results and remain there! To do that, look out for these:

  • 301 Redirects - Create 301 redirects from the old pages to the new ones so that previous SEO isn’t lost.
  • 404 Page - Make sure a 404 page exists for the site. This helps increase your conversions.
  • Sitemap - Create a sitemap which makes it easier for search engines to find all your website’s content.
  • Metadata - Make sure you add meta description and title tags to pages as well as alt tags to images.
  • Site Speed - Check your site’s speed and optimize when necessary.
  • Optimize Images - Use JPGs where you can and run PNGs through an image optimization tool such as ImageOptim. You don’t want to sit in front of your screen waiting for images to load and neither do your visitors.
  • Analytics - Implement tracking codes on your site to help measure the success of your launch.

Train your client

Training your client is a crucial step in a site launch. Why?

  • Your client gets to know how their site was built and realize the complexity that went with the process.
  • It helps them make changes to the site on their own rather than go running to you when they want to change an image or make small edits to a copy.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve gone through the nitty-gritty details of your newly created website, you can breathe easy knowing it’s going to be a successful one so go ahead and launch it.