Internet Marketing

Why Landing Pages Are Awesome

“So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!” ― J.M. Barrie

Landing Pages focus on a particular offer, discount, product, webinar, newsletter or article. They are widely used in Pay Per Click Marketing. A highly focused PPC ad linking through to a landing page just promoting that offer will greatly increase its conversion rate. Why? because they offer only the one thing that has sparked your interest in the beginning. Most of the time they won’t have links back into the site it belongs to as that is a distraction.

Types of Landing Pages…

Local Content
A very popular way of raising your position in the SERPs is to create localised landing pages. So someone searching for ‘digital marketing keighley‘ might be sent to a landing page focusing only on a business in Keighley who does Digital Marketing.

Social Content
A social media landing page is a great way to introduce who you are, what you’ll be tweeting about etc. This could also include your feed and a follow button. A great example of this in action can be seen here from Dave Lalor at Keybury. Yes he’s a client, a very well clued up one too.

Smart Content
Just as you would segment an email data list. You can segment your business into the types of industries or clients who would be interested in that particular area. Using a tool like Survey Monkey would allow you to survey your existing customers or a batch of potential new customers to find out what area of your business they would be most interested in. You would then follow-up with the most appropriate landing page for them.

Lead Capture
Capturing leads is what owning a website is all about. If you have an eBook, white paper or a free workshop to promote. A landing page which has a bulleted list that details, sells and demonstrates what they will gain from downloading it, a video of you talking about the salient point with images and customer testimonials. Will see your sign ups soar.

Advertising Conversion
As mentioned at the beginning, landing pages are widely used to increase the conversion rates of a pay-per-click campaigns. This also affects your web analytics by reducing your ‘bounce rate’ as the content is highly targeted.

Tools
There’s quite a few tools out there which will quickly allow you to create great looking landing pages for your PPC, website, social channels etc. The ones I have experience of are Unbounce and LeadPages. My favourite is LeadPages as it allows you to easily deploy to your own WordPress website.

What tools do you use to create your landing pages? do you have any other types or tips for landing page creation?

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By Steven Burles

What’s the value of Internet Marketing?

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” ― Albert Einstein

I feel there’s a lack of understanding when it comes to SME’s realising what ‘Internet Marketing’ can do for their business. Some get it and are happy to invest the required budget to reap the awards. But many do not.

Some of this misunderstanding I think can be attributed to the so called SEO experts who will get you to the top of Google for your chosen keyword for $99. Some can be attributed to internal IT departments, who should really stick to administering networks than tell their boss that social media is easy and we’ll just do it in-house. And some can be attributed to the ‘bedroom warriors’, those that claim a tax free living from knocking out mediocre websites for a magical sum of $299.

The market is saturated with low-quality internet marketing. There’s no wonder business owners question the costs of a reputable company when they see such low cost material being banded about.

So as a business owner understanding that you do have to invest on a regular monthly basis to the tune of maybe $500, $1000, $1500 really is a reality if you want to seriously promote your business online. Why is it monthly? well SEO alone takes months to establish and grow. And its not something that can be just turned off, because guess what your competitors are doing the same thing every month and have just overtaken you because you stopped. Social Media again takes time to establish an audience and interaction is expected. Simply stopping doing it will lose you followers and klout. Blogging, stop your regular articles and watch your traffic decrease overnight. See the pattern.

Owning a website means managing it. Its a living, breathing entity that needs feeding, monitoring and tweaking to get the results you want. Results are really where this investment becomes real. If your not tracking traffic and interactions with your site then how will you know if your investment has yielded the returns you expected? This is the most important question you need to ask when working with an agency.

“What results have you achieved for your other clients?”

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By Steven Burles

Google Authorship and Why You Need to Signup for it

“If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.” ― Keith Richards

Google authorship is Google’s way of connecting your Google Plus account with your content. This then tracks content you post on your site and also content you post on other sites as a ‘Comment’ or ‘Guest Blogger’ perhaps. The process is relatively simple but can take months to start appearing in searches. There’s been some fantastic increases in traffic once you start appearing.

From the screenshot below you’ll see that your content not only stands out, but it also allows Google to connect ownership and authority to the content. Which one would you click on?

Google Authorship

Google’s reliance on this ‘Author Authority’ is yet to be decided. They have claimed that they are looking for smarter ways in which to deliver quality content to the searcher whilst bypassing link spam.

Remember though you’ve got to write great content. Post all your articles on your social media channels as this increases authority with Google. And be patient, it can take time to show up. I’ve also seen that increasing the amount of Circles your belong to in Google Plus can also help.

Here’s where you can sign up and authorise your content with Google.

What’s your experiences with Google Authorship? Did it increase traffic to your website?

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By Steven Burles

Keeping Track of the Fakers

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” ― Groucho Marx

Did anyone catch the fantastic program last night on Channel 4? Dispatches investigated the use of social media to create ‘fake’ buzz for brands. The program was called ‘Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans’. You can view more info here.

I was intrigued as to the response from agencies when questioned about their methods. They basically blamed the other agency they we’re outsourcing the work to. Is this a cop out or do we really not understand what our “social media” partners are doing during the course of a month. How are they acquiring all those Facebook ‘Likes’? how have they managed to get some ‘C’ list celebrity to tweet about their products?

Taking it back to the business owner, you employ a ‘Search’ or ‘Social’ media agency to market your service/product you expect that to be done in an ethical way. You don’t expect to have to read up on the latest Panda update so you understand what they should and should not be doing (although this is no bad thing).

I think the bottom line here is “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is”. Be wary of companies saying they can get you X amount of followers in a few days, take your ‘Likes’ over 50k in a weekend. Done naturally, this isn’t an easy thing to do.

All this reminds of the ‘black hat’ days of SEO. Companies claiming to get you to the top of Google for $200. They’d then use tools like ‘Scrapebox’ and ‘Link Farms’ to rapidly increase the amount of links to your site and create content. Its just not worth it.

When your looking to appoint an agency, ask to speak to a couple of their long standing clients. And avoid anyone claiming huge increases in ‘Likes’ or ‘Followers’.

Have you had any experience with ‘Fake Likes’ or ‘Celebrity Tweets’?

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By Steven Burles

WordPress 3.6 ‘Oscar’ Update

“I was reminded of the time I got a free upgrade to first class, where I sat right next to Sean Connery. Tongue-tied, I couldn’t think of a thing to say besides, “You’re Sean Connery,” of which presumably he was aware.” ― Lionel Shriver

That’s right folks, WordPress 3.6 is now live to the world. Launching on the 1st August with a new updated ‘Twenty-Thirteen’ theme which looks great on mobile devices. It also includes native support for audio and video, integrations with Spotify, Rdia and SoundCloud.

Named “Oscar” in honor of the great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.

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Here’s some of the best updates…

Custom Menu – Under the ‘Appearance’ section, ‘Menus’ was a great addition a few releases ago. ‘Oscar’ now goes further with a more intuitive creation of the menus along with additional functionality.

Post-Locking and Augmented Autosave – As WordPress is a blogging platform, the autosave feature now saves every 15 seconds ensuring that you don’t lose a thing. Common in many blogs there’s more than one contributor. ‘Oscar’ now has an autosave feature for each blogger which stores things locally as well as on the server. There’s also functionality to allow you to take over a post.

Native Media Support – With a built in HTML5 media player, audio and video now embeds with no reliance on external plugins.

As with any WordPress updates, ensure you backup your site and database prior to upgrading. Also beware that the theme your currently using may not be compatible with the upgrade. So thoroughly test everything once you’ve upgraded.

Have you upgraded your blog to 3.6 yet? any issues? what do you love/hate about it?

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By Steven Burles

Roundup: Digital Deals

“Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.” ― Elizabeth Hardwick

As a new weekly feature I’m going to be bringing you a roundup of ‘money saving’ offers and promos for some of my favourite software, gadgets and books.

Kindle – Limited-Time Offers
Add to your Kindle collection with these latest deals.

Unbounce via Campaign Monitor
Pricing starts from $50/month and scales according to your needs. To find out more about Unbounce, visit their site and start a 30 day, no-risk free trial now. Campaign Monitor customers get an additional 50% off for 3 months with coupon code “CampaignMonitorRocks”. Marketing pain relief and conversions await.

GoToMeeting
My preferred method of conferencing online, now free for 60 days.

Moleskine
If like me you have a lot of Moleskine notebooks, then you’ll need some more. Here’s the code for free shipping ‘ship2013′.

Moo.com
I love my ‘mini moo’ cards. Get 100 free today.

Do you know of any great deals on the latest apps, software, gadgets or books? let me know.

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By Steven Burles

Consult an expert and save money

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

At Puddle we sometimes get enquiries for ‘cheap’ websites. I usually swiftly refer these to other businesses. But of late I’ve been questioning ‘Why?’ do they want a ‘Cheap’ website. Is this a reflection on their own business? would I go to them for a cheap product?

A lot of business owners and startups need to look 3-5 years ahead. Yes you can get a 1 page website produced for next to nothing and be online in a day. Or signup for a 1and1 website DIY. But will this last you 3 months? a year? will it convert traffic? will it get any traffic? An investment now can save you money further down the road. It can get you to where you want to be financially much quicker and allow you to experiment and expand the business.

In particular with e-commerce websites there’s a huge variation of not so good to great services that will run your store for you. Majority of them are a hosted solution and come with a monthly subscription and take a percentage of your sales. But you need to ensure they’ll give you the functionality you require as they can sometimes be difficult to transfer from at a later date.

At the very least find someone who knows what they’re talking about, give them a few quid and let them advise you in the approach to take. This small investment will be the best money you ever spent.

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By Steven Burles

If you build it they won’t come

Businesses expectations of owning a website never ceases to amaze me. Just because you have a website does not mean you will be inundated with visitors. It just doesn’t work that way.

Remembering the old movie ‘Field of Dreams’ with Kevin Costner. The quote ‘if you build it they will come’ certainly cannot be applied to this observation.

Lets say you have an existing website or you’ve just had one built by a friend of a friend of friend. As soon as that site goes live is where the hard work begins.

You’ve got to get your ducks inline, is it optimised for search engines? have you even got an XML feed and submitted it to Google’s Webmaster Tools? Have you planned out a Link Building strategy to be performed on a monthly basis, how about email marketing, have you segmented your existing database? Have you even been collecting your existing clients email addresses? Are you going to post to it on a regular basis? Who’s going to do that? Do they have the time?

And once everything is in place and running in tandem with your own business goals are you tracking it? Reporting on it? Understanding it and making decisions on? What sort of return have you seen from it?

If you really want to ‘succeed online’ and really make your website make money you need to employ the services of an online marketing agency. Now obviously I’m biased to my own Puddle Digital here but there are many awesome agencies out there that can make this work for you.

Just ensure you ask to see case studies of other relevant businesses they’ve worked for and why not request to have a chat with one of their clients.

By Steven Burles