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Prepare for Summer

By Jennifer Esty  |  June 22, 2018

The special offers on Pimms and invites to school sports days can only mean one thing: summer holidays are around the corner.

Whether you’re going abroad or spending the summer watching the World Cup, make sure your digital lead generation campaigns keep working even when you’re not.

AdWords Campaigns

If you have Google AdWords campaigns running, download the Google AdWords app (not AdWords Express). This handy app gives you top-line campaign information including:

  • Stats
  • Bids and budgets
  • Real-time alerts and notifications

Also, to ensure you don’t overspend on your media budgets, use AdWords’ handy budgeting tools. You can set daily and monthly budgets and if your business is seasonal, have a look at last year’s summer stats to make sure set appropriate levels of budget so your competition doesn’t get the edge while you’re away.

Remarketing

Remarketing is a great way to stay in touch with your already engaged prospects (and stakeholders) while you’re away. Google, Facebook and LinkedIn all provide opportunities for staying in touch with B2B prospects using display remarketing.

Take the opportunity to refresh your ad copy and creative before you leave; think about directing them to some evergreen content or a post-summer event. Also, consider the frequency of your remarketing ads (no one wants to be stalked by your ads all summer).

And finally, remember that brand search ads in conjunction with remarketing make for a positive experience for prospects ready to reengage with you.

Schedule Your Content

Not all of your potential customers will be on holiday, so don’t let your content go stale while you are away. You can schedule content for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. There are loads of tools you can use, including HootSuite, Sprout Social and TweetDeck.

Also, make sure you’re promoting an appropriate CTA—don’t encourage people to call you if the phone lines won’t be properly staffed or offer a free trial if your presales team are all wearing their cagoules on a beach in Cornwall.

Using Facebook

With Facebook Pages Manager you can view and respond to comments and private messages from your phone (as well as see Page Insights), and Facebook Adverts Manager allows you to edit your ads and budgets, get notifications of when ads are finishing and keep an eye on your spending.

(LinkedIn if you’re listening, we’re still waiting for an app version of the Campaign Manager!)

Still Send Emails

Now that you’ve cleaned your email lists following the Great GDPR Scare of 2018, don’t forget to keep your customers and prospects engaged over the summer.

Most email platforms will allow you to send emails scheduled for a specific time. Marketing automation platforms also allow you set up automatic email sends based on user behaviour.

Take the time to put a content plan in place that aligned with your social posts and remarketing campaigns and with a little luck no one will ever know you were away!

Think About Your Website

As with email, most content management systems (CMS) have an option to schedule content. Nothing screams ‘I’ve gone on holiday and don’t care about you right now’ like outdated seasonal content on your site.

If your website CMS doesn’t have a schedule function, consider putting your best performing content on the homepage whilst you’re away, or at least don’t leave up information about an out-of-date event during your break.

Analytics

Google has a Google Analytics app which is reasonably good for basic monitoring and will allow you to at least get a high-level view of your activity, especially useful for answering ‘quick’ questions from your MD whilst you’re away.

Again, keep in mind seasonality and remember many sensible people like you will also be on holiday so volume (though hopefully not performance) may dip.

Finally… Check with Your Sales Team

Make sure there is a plan in place to deal with inbound leads. If you have a small sales team who are also on holiday, make sure someone will be monitoring the group email address and the phone won’t go unanswered.

If unfortunate scheduling means there will be days when no one can manage calls from prospects, or customers for that matter, consider enlisting the help of a call handling agency to get you through the holiday season.

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5 Lessons from over 250 landing pages

By Jennifer Esty  |  June 15, 2018

At Sharp Ahead we specialise in creating conversion optimised landing pages for B2B clients with complex products and services.

Our clients’ websites are almost universally complicated, with numerous calls to actions and menu items which need to serve multiple stakeholders and customer personas.

Landing pages are a way to ensure that paid media spend directs lead traffic to pages designed to meet a prospect’s specific need.

But just because landing pages are less complex than websites, designing them is no less of a science.

After creating hundreds of landing pages for diverse clients in diverse sectors, we have some key best practice tips to make sure your landing pages generate high quality leads and ROI on your paid media spend.

Lesson 1: the 5 second rule

In person you generally have 7 seconds to make a good first impression. Online, you have even less time. Make sure your landing pages (and indeed all of your digital communications) pass this simple test.
The 5 Second Rule: in 5 seconds or less, can a prospect clearly understand who you are and what you are offering them?

Specifically, above the fold you need:

  • A clear statement of your value proposition. Don’t be clever with this statement. Now’s not the time for puns or beautifully crafted brand statements. Think Ronseal. In as few words as possible state exactly what you offer
  • A single call to action. Make it visually strong. Ensure it’s succinct and written from the point of view of the prospect
  • Social proof. Social proof can take the form of client logos, imagery, or peer testimonials. Social proof reassures prospects that other companies like their company work with you—and therefore so should they

Remember, if in 5 seconds the prospect doesn’t feel reassured that they’ve come to the right place, the back button will quickly and easily show them an entire search engine results page of alternative options.

Lesson 2: Encourage web-to-phone

Yes, that’s right, here’s a digital marketing agency telling you to get your prospects on the phone.

Although much of a prospect’s research will take place online, for most B2B companies, particularly those with complex, very high-value propositions, the actual sales process needs to take place human-to-human.

Landing pages should not only be designed to capture lead data via forms but even more importantly they should be designed to offer prospects the opportunity to get in touch via phone.

Including a phone number signals a number of things to a prospect:

  • The company is real, not just online
  • The company is open for business
  • There are real live humans that want to talk to you
  • The company takes customer service seriously

And here are top tips on how to use phone numbers effectively on landing pages:

  • Make the phone number visible, ideally in the header of your landing page
  • Repeat the phone number, particularly at the bottom of the page so a prospect that has scrolled down doesn’t have to think about scrolling back up to find it again
  • Include your hours of operation so a prospect knows when you’re open and when filling out a form is a better idea
  • On mobile, make the phone number click to call

Lesson 3: Skimmable Content

We all know that most of the time, consumers of digital content are not properly reading, they’re skimming to find the relevant piece of information that will either reassure them they are looking at the right thing- or send them back to a search engine results page to find something else.

Our tips:

  • Make sure your content is written and structured in a way that makes skimming through it easy whilst still giving them the information they need
  • Use blocks of content that stand out. Designing with different blocks of colour, for example, gives a visual clue and helps key information stand out
  • Include social proof throughout your landing page, mix it up with short quotes, logos, and imagery
  • Don’t be afraid to repeat content. A user skimming content is likely to have missed something, so don’t be afraid to repeat key messages throughout the page
  • The same goes for your CTA. Don’t make a user ready to engage with you look for the button that will bring up a form. Repeat it throughout: always above the fold and at the bottom of the page

Lesson 4: Separate Design for Mobile

While statistics vary on how many people are using phones versus desktop for B2B research, you can safely assume that at least half of your prospects are engaging with your landing pages on a mobile device.

Landing pages need to be not just responsive but designed separately for desktop and mobile to ensure they are conversion optimised for both experiences.

There are a few key differences between the two:

  • Phone numbers on mobile pages can be click-to-call
  • The experience of filling out a form is very different; make sure you’ve designed—and tested—your forms on both desktop and mobile
  • Mobile users can scroll down quickly with a swipe of their finger so longer pages are fine but make sure key messages are still standing out
  • Load times, a landing page that is slow to load on mobile is even less likely to get viewed than on desktop. Make sure images are optimised and always test the mobile experience as thoroughly as you would the desktop version

Lesson 5: The Attention Ratio

Attention Ratio refers to the number of things a prospect is being asked to do or think about in a page.

Going back to the beginning, the reason landing pages are so important for paid traffic is that websites are just too distracting.

A website might have a dozen or even more calls to action: think about not just your conversion features but your menu items, social icons, in-page content, contextual links, etc.

For your landing pages, you want to strive for an attention ration of 1. This means have one, very clear call to action on the page whenever possible. (Two if you count the phone number).

Sometimes there are very good reasons for having more than one call to action, but in those cases make it clear what the difference is and prioritise visually the one you would prefer a prospect pay attention to.

Lead generation using paid media campaigns are a great way to grow your business, so remember to optimise your ROI by optimising your landing pages first.

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