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Inbound Marketing: From Good to Great

People magnet

Remember the good old days when marketing had a clear definition? It was simple. Marketing meant broadcasting a product or service to consumers. Businesses did all the talking, and the company with the largest budget usually won. It could pay for the best advertising firm and buy the most ad spots. Think Don Draper.

But now marketing is more complex. Our audience is more knowledgeable and the little guys have a place at the table. And that’s a good thing. Fast-forward to today, and Joe Marketer can now compete with the likes of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. In addition to the evolution of the Internet, in recent years this is possible because we figured out a way to cut through the clutter. We stopped talking to prospects and started talking with them. We stopped telling them what they want and started listening to what they want. Then we gave information away for free. And they kept coming back! Enter inbound marketing.

What Is Inbound Marketing Anyway?

Simply put, inbound marketing is a strategy businesses use to pull customers in—to attract them rather than chase them down. Inbound marketing works by creating and delivering content that a company’s target audience finds valuable. Provided in the form of everything from blog posts to white papers to videos, inbound marketing connects with prospects and shares information that’s important to them. It demonstrates thought leadership, creates brand awareness, and builds trust and loyalty.

Is Outbound Marketing DOA?

Far from it. Outbound marketing is still essential. As our marketing strategies have evolved, we haven’t just replaced outbound with inbound. In fact, 98 percent of Top Performers who report regularly using inbound marketing also say they actively leverage outbound tactics at the same time. These tactics include print ads, online ads, email campaigns, direct mail, billboards, cold calls, and the many other types of traditional marketing.

Rather than focusing on one or the other, it’s better to think of marketing as being unbound. The most effective marketing strategies integrate both inbound and outbound tactics to create comprehensive campaigns that take advantage of the best of both worlds. That being said, if you have to choose one, your marketing dollars are typically better spent on inbound. The cost per lead is far lower (over 54 percent lower than outbound), and if you do it right, inbound marketing will send a steady stream of qualified prospects to your website.

The Inbound Marketing Process: From Stranger to Customer in 3 Steps

Quality content is the engine that makes inbound marketing run. It’s what attracts prospects to your business in the first place, and then keeps moving them along in the buying cycle. According to Top Performers, developing content that maps to a prospect’s unique stage in buying cycle is the number one value driver for maximizing return on investment in inbound marketing.

But quality content by itself isn’t enough. Many businesses are producing compelling content that their prospects would gobble up. Unfortunately, if they’re not able to find it, all of the work that goes into creating content can go to waste. To be successful, you also need to have a strategy to share it with the right prospects at the right time.

As we shall see, inbound marketing follows a specific process whose end result is satisfied customers. But we can’t overlook the importance of strategy. Sixty-six percent of marketers who consider themselves effective report having developed and implemented an inbound marketing strategy.

Step 1: Attract Visitors to Your Site

In this first part of the process, your focus is on content creation and distribution to prospects that may not know your company exists. Your job is not only to make them aware of your business, but also to give them a reason to want to learn more about it. Grabbing their attention and attracting them to your site requires a few key things:

Identify buyer personas

Buyer personas are simply the individual segments of your target audience. Keep in mind that your prospects don’t all have the same interests and needs. For example, an insurance agency knows that it’s not just selling insurance. It’s selling insurance to car owners, homeowners, business owners, etc. The agency needs to tailor its content so it appeals to each audience.

  • Best practice: Define buyer personas and prioritize which one’s have the highest value to your business. Then focus your inbound marketing efforts on the top two or three of these personas to keep focused and make content production manageable.

Perform keyword research

Identify the terms and phrases your target audience is searching to find the types of products/services you offer. This requires using one of the many available keyword tools, which will help you find the most searched for keyphrases related to your product/service. Choose the best keyphrases for your content by narrowing down your search to ones that aren’t as competitive. Optimizing your content for these phrases is critical to being found by the search engines.

  • Best practice: Revisit your keyword research regularly. Interests, search patterns, and popularity shift over time, so you should reevaluate your research every couple of months.

Write blog posts

When it comes to content creation, blog posts should be at the center of your inbound marketing strategy. Posting high-quality articles on your blog has many benefits. You can establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry—someone people know they need to follow if they want to stay up on best practices. Blog posts should educate your target audience, solve a problem, and above all position your business as a trusted resource of valuable information.

  • Best practice: The most effective blogs share several common attributes: they’re updated frequently with quality content that is optimized for a company’s target audience. Consistency is key, but quantity never trumps quality. It’s always better to write and post one stellar article per week rather than post subpar content every day. Poor content inevitably damages your reputation with both your prospects and the search engines.

Leverage social media

After your blog, social media is the most important tool in your inbound marketing toolbox. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or any other platform, promote your articles everywhere your target audience spends its time. When it comes to social media, promotion doesn’t mean selling. You want to engage your prospects and share content that creates value for them.

  • Best practice: Approach your prospects on social media channels as if you’re having a conversation. They may be interested in your product/service, but they’re probably not ready to buy from you yet. Regularly share other people’s content in addition to your own to show you’re not only interested in their pocketbook. Remember that social media is, after all, social. Pepper your social media posts with entertaining content as well. This shows that you’re not all about business can even put a smile on your prospects’ faces in the process.

Sixty-three percent of Top Performers report using more than two channels to promote their inbound content. In order of importance, they are blogs (89 percent), landing pages (88 percent), email newsletters (50 percent), and social media (45 percent). As you investigate which channels will be most effective for your business, put yourself in the position of your prospects and ask how you would prefer to consume your content. Then integrate the channels into a cohesive strategy so that every channel complements another. For example, use newsletters to drive traffic to your blog, and include calls-to-action (CTAs) on your blog to send prospects to landing pages.

Step 2: Convert Visitors Into Leads

If you’ve been successful at attracting visitors to your content, it’s time to convert them into bona fide leads. This is a critical phase because prospects are just getting to know you and haven’t invested more than a little bit of time with you. To convince them to take the next step, your inbound marketing strategy must have:

Clear CTAs

At this point, your lead generation hinges on your ability to communicate exactly what you want your prospect to do. Whether it’s to download an eBook, subscribe to your newsletter, or gain access to any other type of valuable information, your CTA button or link must clearly tell prospects what they will receive when they click on it.

  • Best practice: Above all, your CTAs need to convey the value of your content. They should answer the number one question every prospect asks: “What’s in it for me?” Try to create a sense of urgency around your offer as well, such as making it time-sensitive or being in short supply.

Compelling landing pages

Once prospects click on your CTA, they should be sent to a landing page where they can obtain your content. Their contact information is their currency, and will be passed along to your sales department to follow-up.

  • Best practice: Keep your contact forms short, only asking for the basic data you need to personally connect with them. The last thing you want to do is frustrate visitors by requesting too much information. Remember: they’re still leads, not customers.

Step 3: Close the Deal

If you’ve managed to turn strangers into qualified leads, now it’s time to close the deal and make them customers. Although these prospects still may not be ready to buy from you, in this phase you have several tools at your disposal to keep track of them. Most notably, you can use marketing automation to continue to nurture leads through email marketing campaigns. This enables you to methodically stay in contact and send targeted content to your different buyer personas wherever they are in the customer lifecycle. This final phase is so critical to the process that 85 percent of Top Performers who actively pursue inbound strategies report having invested in some form of marketing automation.

Ultimately, you want to automate as many interactions as possible, providing prospects with relevant content when and how they want to receive it. Since you will have prospects in your system at every phase of the buying cycle, you also need to use lead scoring to track their sales-readiness. Lead scoring enables you to pinpoint specific behaviors and send targeted content based on their activity and level of engagement. Often overlooked—used by only half of the Top Performers using marketing automation—lead scoring is an essential part of smarter and more profitable inbound marketing.

Inbound Marketing Challenges

Not surprisingly, most businesses report time and resources as being their main inbound marketing challenges. After all, consistently writing blog posts requires a significant commitment, let alone the execution of a comprehensive inbound strategy. Although every step described above is critical to achieving sustained success with inbound, you can start small and scale your plan as you grow. If you can only handle writing, posting, and sharing one article per week, start there and work your way towards three times a week.

Use marketing automation software, an affordable expense for most small businesses, to simplify and better manage your lead nurturing activities. You may also be able to reduce the costs of inbound marketing by outsourcing key functions you can’t perform in-house. Whatever you do, with so much at stake, don’t take a haphazard approach to inbound marketing. The planning process is just as important as execution.

The Bottom Line

Consumers have become much smarter, and the web has made it easier for them to research and buy products and services. Getting them to notice and purchase yours requires implementing a smart inbound strategy. With so many competitors vying for your prospects’ attention, your inbound marketing has to be better than good. It has to be great. Invest the time and resources into creating high-quality content that delights your target audience. Share it with them in the right places at the right times, measure the results, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Above all, be unbound. Discover the best mix of inbound and outbound to give your marketing unlimited potential to achieve success for your business.

Content Strategies For Inbound Marketing




As they develop their inbound marketing strategy, all businesses set out to create quality content that converts prospects into customers. Unfortunately, good intentions don’t always lead to positive results. Many companies start heading down the right track only to see their inbound marketing program stall. Whether it’s due to poor planning, lack of resources, difficulty producing enough of the right type of content, or being unable to effectively engage consumers with their content, it’s not uncommon for businesses to struggle with a broad range of content challenges.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Aside from time constraints, which is consistently cited as the top content challenge (69 percent), the vast majority of businesses report that their main challenges are creating enough content (55 percent) and developing content that engages (47 percent). When you add these to the challenge of producing content that can be found in the first place, it’s clear that we have some work to do to ensure our content efforts pay off.

Establish Content Goals

First of all, we need to set clear goals for our content and understand how each piece fits into the larger inbound marketing puzzle (which can be puzzling, to be sure). Although these goals will inevitably vary depending on our type of business, generally speaking we want our content to:

  • Have a business purpose: Whether it’s giving away a white paper to acquire a prospect’s contact information or writing an article to demonstrate thought leadership on a particular topic, every piece of content needs to be focused on achieving a business goal.
  • Elevate the brand: Ultimately, our content reflects our brand, so we want our target audience to have a positive impression of it. Quality content builds relationships with prospects. It increases brand awareness, promotes thought leadership, and gives prospects a reason to do business with us.
  • Build trust and loyalty: Quality content does the heavy lifting of gaining prospects’ trust. Great content keeps them in the sales funnel by establishing our authority as a trusted industry resource. It makes prospects that are not ready to do business when they first come across our content (which is most of them) more likely to do business with us in the future.
  • Generate qualified leads: Producing quality content that is geared towards the right prospects at the right time and in the right place sends qualified leads our way. Of course, it’s more difficult than that. But as we will see in the following sections, we can use many different—but connected—strategies to produce content that engages our target audience.

Create Engaging Content

The first rule of content creation is to understand that it’s far better to measure content in terms of quality rather than quantity. We hear it all the time, but the quality over quantity mantra is repeated over and over because its importance cannot be overemphasized. The businesses that consider producing enough content among their chief concerns should be more focused on creating enough stunning content.

Whether it’s in the form of a blog post, a video, an infographic, or any other type of content, it simply has to be good enough to cut through the clutter. Anyone who’s done a Google search lately knows there’s plenty of that. The difference between the content that gets lost in this clutter and the content that rises to the top of it involves its ability to 1) be found by the search engines, and 2) be useful to the consumers who find it. It’s an easy equation, but we have to overcome some difficult challenges to achieve both of these goals. To do that, we need a specific strategy to optimize our content and then make it easy and pleasurable for readers to interact with it.

1. How to optimize content for search

While human readers are obviously the audience for whom we are creating content, SEO is still very important to the success of our content. In fact, without a solid SEO strategy, our content won’t be findable and all of the time and money spent on creating it will have gone to waste.

Optimizing content begins with keyword research. This discovery process uncovers the best long-tail keyphrases we’ll strategically incorporate into the content we want to be found online. There are dozens of tools—both free and paid—to identify these ideal terms. Although there are many nuances to selecting keyphrases, the primary focus is to choose those that have a relatively high search volume compared to relatively low competition. This ensures that we not only use a keyphrase that our target audience searches frequently, but also one that isn’t being used by so many competitors that ranking well for it would be extremely difficult.

Let’s take a closer look at how we put this keyphrase to work in our content by using a thought leadership article about business growth as an example. We may find our ideal long-tail keyphrase to be “small business marketing tips.” This will be the primary keyphrase we’ll use in our article.

Now, it’s important to note that search engines have gotten much smarter in the past few years, which means that they do a better job of understanding content without relying on the frequent repetition of a specific keyphrase. This is good news, because we don’t have to worry about competitors with inferior content using questionable strategies to rank higher than us. Still, since we want to be found for this keyphrase, we need to use it strategically to signal to the search engines what this article is primarily about.

Again, while keeping the focus on the reader but also paying attention to optimization for organic search, we want to use our primary keyphrase in the:

  • Headline: As the very first thing a content consumer sees, from a search perspective the headline is one of the most important parts of the article. As such, we want to use our primary keyphrase in a headline that stimulates a reader to want to click on it to learn more. In our example, our headline might be, “6 Small Business Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business.”
  • Body of the article: Use the keyphrase as soon as possible in the first paragraph, and then include it naturally throughout the article. Never stuff keywords into the copy. In addition to giving the reader a negative experience (defeating the purpose of our thought leadership article), search engines will penalize it for being linkbait and not offering any value to information seekers.
  • Anchor text: Include links that point to other relevant content that may be useful to the reader, such as related blog posts or even a product page on the site. If our core value is providing entrepreneurs with tools to grow their business, we may link our “small business marketing tips” keyphrase to a landing page where the user can download a white paper that goes into greater depth on the topic.
  • Meta data: This is the content working behind the scenes and has a major impact on the findability of a piece of content. Although not visible on the page, meta data is the first thing we see when we encounter content in a search. In our example, the meta title would be the same as our article’s title. We would write a meta description that provides a brief synopsis of the article, and also tag any images with our keyphrase.

It’s an extensive process, to be sure, but every step is critical to give our content the best chance of being returned as relevant information when our target audience performs a search.

2. How to make content connect with consumers

First and foremost, we have to understand our consumers before we can begin creating content for them. We need to focus on their needs, their problems, and their interests, and provide educational content that shares valuable information that meets those needs and solves those problems.

Continuing with our example above, the last thing we want to do is turn our thought leadership article into a sales pitch. We want to deliver true value and give our audience information they can start using right away. We’ll give them those six marketing tips to help grow their small business—not six reasons they should hire us as a marketing consultant thinly veiled as helpful “tips.” An engaging article has the following elements:

  • A thought-provoking headline: Although mentioned above, the importance of the headline bears repeating. It’s our first and, if we don’t get it right, last opportunity to hook our reader. There are many tried and true types of headline conventions, a few of the most popular being lists or rankings (“6 Small Business Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business”), how to’s/not to’s (“How to Grow Your Small Business With a Tiny Marketing Budget”), or asking a question (“Is Your Small Business Marketing Leading to Sales?”). Headlines need to deliver on their promise, not just be eye candy that misleads readers. This bait and switch tactic is a sure-fire way to instantly lose credibility and ensure that prospects never engage with our brand again.
  • A point to make: We have to grab our readers’ attention quickly and keep them interested. That means doing whatever it takes to make the point of our article. Tell a story, be personal, be controversial, use emotion, make a claim and back it up with statistics. Above all, provide valuable information and keep the reader wanting more.
  • An appealing presentation: The way our content is presented makes a huge impact as well—both from a visual and stylistic perspective. Break up text into easy-to-skim, bite-size chunks with subheads and bullets, and try to use shorter sentences and paragraphs. Using the appropriate style and voice for our audience is important as well. A conversational style is typically more engaging, but a more formal approach may be a better fit for some audiences. Avoid using industry jargon unless the content is geared towards industry insiders.
  • A strong call-to-action: Every engaging piece of content tells readers what they should do next. Ask a question at the end of a blog post and encourage readers to comment. Point them to other content, such as an eBook or a product page where they can find more information. All great content should direct prospects and customers to more compelling content where they can continue to interact with our brand.

Leverage Content to Engage Prospects

Creating great content is essential, but it will only be effective if we can manage to engage our target audience with it. Not surprisingly, this process also starts with gaining a clear understanding of our prospects. Where do they spend their time online? How do they prefer to interact with content? When do they want to receive content? These are just a few of the many questions we need to ask to determine the best way to connect with them. We have many tools and techniques we can use to give our content the best chance of getting in front of our prospects:

  • Identify social sites: In terms of popularity, the top social media platforms are undeniably LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, SlideShare, and Pinterest. Where does our audience hang out and engage with businesses? The first mistake many businesses make is to try to be active everywhere. While this may be possible for large companies, most small businesses simply don’t have the time and resources to do this well. It’s far better to choose one or two of these sites and get very involved in relevant communities within them. Start building relationships and focus on adding value with the content you share.
  • Optimize updates: Use keyphrases when promoting content in social media posts to give it a better chance of being indexed by search engines. Google+ posts, in particular, benefit from keyword-rich shares.
  • Use social sharing buttons: Wherever possible—especially on your blog—make it easy for readers to share content with their network of contacts. Add social sharing widgets for the major social media platforms, and include buttons for popular social bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, and Delicious. Remember that your prospects want to share great content because they want to be adding value to their audience as well.
  • Mix it up: Don’t be all business and don’t always be promoting your own content. Ask questions, start and participate in group conversations, and share both educational and entertaining content. We also want to mix it up when it comes to promoting our own content, since prospects start ignoring content that’s shared over and over within a short period of time. Marketing automation tools are very beneficial for scheduling different content to be posted at specific times every day. In fact, 85 percent of top performers report using marketing automation to simplify their engagement efforts with prospects.
  • Respond to comments: Never underestimate the power of comments on blog posts. Getting a prospect to read an entire blog post is no small feat. If he’s taken the time to comment as well, we have a golden opportunity to start a dialogue.

The Bottom Line

Above all, be consistent. The more you engage with the right people on the right social media platforms, the more prospects you’ll attract to your content. If they like your content, those prospects can quickly become part of your sales funnel so you can continue to engage them with more of your valuable content. It really is that simple. Of course, ultimately, we gauge the success of content on conversions. But that’s a topic for another article.

Engaging content doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so measure its effectiveness with an analytics tool and adjust your strategy based on your findings. You will undoubtedly find that some content outperforms other content. Create more of the best of it and keep sharing it with your prospects wherever they spend their time online. Be persistent without being a pest, optimize content so it can be more easily found, and always focus on adding value in every interaction. If you do it right, your content will work for you and attract a steady stream of loyal customers. And that’s what inbound marketing is all about, isn’t it?

6 Reasons Your Website Needs a Facelift

website faceliftThe look and feel of their website is a touchy subject for some businesses. They built a shiny new site a few years ago—at a pretty penny. They spent countless hours going back and forth with the designer and writer, and were more relieved than anything else when the site finally went live.

Sound familiar?

If you haven’t revisited your website in awhile, it may be time to take another hard look. In fact, it may be time for a facelift. Here’s how you’ll know:

  • The design is outdated—something a website programmer/designer would have created in 1999. The look and feel of your site needs to reflect current design conventions and, at the very least, be comparable with your competitors.
  • The copy is old. And worse, it isn’t optimized. If you didn’t pay attention to SEO the first time around, it’s no wonder that your website traffic isn’t what it could be.
  • The images need to be retired. We’ve all had enough of the same old stock photos we see on way too many business websites. Have you considered taking your own photographs for your business? Snap your own shots of your work environment, products/services in action, happy clients, etc.
  • You’re not promoting new products/services. Speaking of products, it’s definitely time for a facelift if your website doesn’t showcase your new products/services. Prospects need to know about your latest offerings (and so do the search engines).
  • There are no social media buttons. This one seems obvious, but we still come across businesses that don’t include connections to their social media accounts. If you’re updating your social media regularly (which, of course, you should be doing), you’re missing out on an opportunity to engage prospects that may not be quite ready to buy from you. It’s a quick and simple add-on by your website programmer.
  • There are copy problems. The best way to lose a prospect is to have a website with copy errors—be it spelling, grammar, punctuation, or other easy fixes to the language on your site. Don’t be one of those companies that loses clients simply because you come across as unprofessional during a prospect’s first impression of your business.

These are just a few of the reasons your company’s website may need a facelift. Get a comprehensive report when you receive a website audit that shows what needs to be fixed—sooner rather than later. The assessment is free. Just contact me for your evaluation today.

5 Tips to Turn Your Business Into An Educational Powerhouse

content marketing programMany businesses don’t do a great job when it comes to educating their prospects on the true benefits of their products and services. Sure, they have a website, but they don’t take advantage of the opportunity to differentiate themselves by maintaining an active blog with valuable information for their target audience.

Why Is Education So Important For Your Business?

In a competitive industry (and which one isn’t nowadays?), demonstrating your expertise in the areas of interest to your prospects goes a long way towards building trust. Consistently writing, optimizing, publishing, and sharing original content on your blog can consistently keep them engaged. It shows that you’re interested in being helpful and sharing your knowledge to solve their problems and meet their needs.

In short, your business becomes a trusted resource. Your website will be viewed as a hub for educational content, and your blog will be the driving force behind it. In fact, creating valuable information for your blog will be the single most effective way to build awareness for your business, demonstrate thought leadership, attract more prospects to your website, and generate more leads.

How to Start Creating Content For Your Business

If you haven’t already added a blog to your website, now’s the time. Remember that dedication, consistency, and quality are key to achieving success with your blog. If you don’t plan on frequently updating it with original content—at least once a week—you may want to reconsider blogging as part of your content marketing strategy. An ignored blog or a blog with poorly written articles will do your business more harm than good.

Here are five tips to help you start creating valuable educational articles:

1. Stay Informed

Keep track of industry trends to get ideas for article topics, and follow influential blogs to stay up-to-date on top of industry news. Leverage your expertise to add your own perspective and contribute to the conversation. Put a new spin on an old topic. Be controversial. Ruffle some feathers. It’s a good way to get people talking about and interacting with your business.

2. Perform Keyword Research

Use a keyword tool to discover the terms your target audience is searching to find information related to your business. Look at the amount of monthly searches for keywords, and remember to compare their competition so you choose keyword phrases that are frequently searched but aren’t so competitive that you can’t rank for them.

content marketing program3. Write High-Quality Articles

Both your target audience and the search engines want to see that you’ve created a substantial piece of content. But most visitors do not—and will not—want to read a 3,000 word treatise on the benefits of your products and services. Instead, write more concise 500-600 word articles that educate your target audience on the specific topics they want to learn about. It’s been said a gazillion times, but it always rings true: quality over quantity.

4. Don’t Be Self-Promotional

Nothing turns-off prospects faster than an article that blatantly promotes your company’s products and services. Remember that the point of content marketing is to educate and share valuable information, not sell directly. You want your blog to be the go-to resource in your niche, not a place where you toot your own horn. That’s what press releases are for.

5. Use Social Media Wisely

Share your great content on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other social media sites where your prospects and customers hang out. Include relevant keywords in your posts, and encourage your network to share your content as well. The visibility of your articles can spread very quickly to increase the visibility of your business and boost website traffic.

Get Started

These are just a few of the many best practices for writing, optimizing, and publishing articles on your blog. Now you’re ready to start creating and sharing content to turn your business into a trusted resource, build awareness as a thought leader, and generate more qualified leads. 

Get more tips and see how to implement a comprehensive content marketing program for your business by visiting

Why SEO Copywriting Isn’t Dead [In Under 300 Words]

SEO copywritingI read a lot of content marketing blogs. Probably too many, if that’s possible. Many of them have posted articles telling businesses they can stop worrying about SEO. Ignore it, they say. It’s no longer important. You only have to focus on your readers.

This sounds like an argument made by lazy content marketers. Of course your content has to be useful and valuable to your readers. That’s job one. It always has been—ever since Ben Franklin started publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack back in 1732.

But you can’t say SEO should RIP. It’s as important as it ever was—maybe even more so. With so many articles competing for attention and jockeying for position, getting in front of the right audience isn’t just about having quality content. There’s a lot of that. It’s also about using SEO copywriting best practices.

These days, thanks in large part to Google’s Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, and [insert new animal here] algorithm updates, great SEO copywriting just means making it easier to find that high-quality content. And a lot goes into that, too. You can’t get good at SEO copywriting overnight, which may be why many of the new content marketing “experts” are telling their clients SEO doesn’t matter anymore.

It does. Quality content that is infused with great SEO copywriting is the recipe for attracting and connecting with your audience. Unless you have an authoritative domain, it can be the difference between getting lost in the crowd and being found by your next customer.

So let’s be more specific: bad SEO is dead, but good SEO is alive and thriving. Let’s be smarter about how we practice it and stop pretending it doesn’t make the Google gods happier.

See how your business can get the right eyeballs on your content by heading over to You’ll find information about how to implement the right content marketing program for your business, and learn how SEO copywriting impacts your strategy. 

Avoid These 10 Common Mistakes to Create the Best Landing Pages

The best landing pages all accomplish one basic but critical goal: they convince a visitor to take action. Whether it’s buying a product, registering for a webinar, downloading an eBook, or signing-up for a newsletter, landing pages are all about conversion.

best landing pagesThere are just as many things a landing page should do as it should not do to increase conversions. Ignoring the many nuances of the user experience can send a visitor away from your page almost immediately and cost you business.

Avoid these 10 landing page mistakes to build pages that convert:

1. A long form process

The best landing pages make forms easy-to-use and as short as possible. Give as much as you can, and ask for as little as possible in return. Only ask for information that is absolutely necessary to complete the current transaction. Nothing makes a visitor want to leave your landing page more than having to fill out a lengthy contact form that captures information that seems unnecessary. While this information may be invaluable to you, asking for too much personal information in your first encounter can cause a visitor to click-away to a competitor.

2. Pop-ups

Landing page testing has proven that people do not like pop-ups (or unwelcome surprises) of any kind. Even if it’s not an advertising pop-up, the majority of visitors have a knee-jerk reaction to close a pop-up as quickly as possible. This annoyance and the perception that your site is spammy can cause visitors to have a negative reaction to your offer, even if it’s a product or service they want to buy.

3. Flash

Flash intros are often visually compelling, but they keep visitors from immediately viewing your offer. Although not as annoying as pop-ups, flash intros force visitors to take another step before accessing what may be a product or service that they can’t live without. Cut to the chase. Don’t lose them with flash when you’ve already succeeded at driving them to your landing page.

4. Ineffective headlines

Considering the fact that visitors will spend only a few seconds on a page, benefit-driven headlines are critical to make them want to read on to learn more about your offer. When you lose prospects on the headline, even the best landing page design may not be enough to convert a visitor into a customer.

5. Content that competes for visitors’ attention

Placing multiple offers on one page is another common landing page mistake. This essentially makes you compete with yourself and it disorients visitors. Be clear about your business priorities and have a single dominant conversion goal (all others should be clearly secondary in terms of their visibility and prominence). Short attention spans will compel prospects to click-away from a page that seems too complicated.

6. The same design as your main website

Your main site has navigation links that could distract a visitor from the specific offer on your landing page. If visitors can click on your “About Us” page, they may get lost in the rest of your site and then be gone forever. The best landing pages include your branding but also focus visitors on the task at hand. A micro-site is often a good compromise if you must include deeper supporting information, but at least keep the navigation limited to a single level.

7. Ignoring basic aesthetics

Gaudy landing pages that misuse colors, fonts, images, and highlighted copy are immediate turn-offs. Regardless of the content, a clean design will at least keep a visitor wanting to learn more about your offer. Don’t be tacky.

8. Copy that is difficult to scan

It’s no secret that most of us have short attention spans. Break up the copy and highlight the benefits of your offer with subheads and bullets. Important information should go first since the rest will probably not be read anyway.

9. Bad stock photography

Although industry-specific stock photographs can be visually appealing, overused or poor stock photography can turn off visitors if they perceive your business to be just like everybody else’s. It’s fine to use high-quality images that are specific to your business, but don’t just decorate your page with generic images.

10. Not having a strong call-to-action

In addition to the headline, the call-to-action is one of the most important pieces of a landing page. It’s often what separates the best from the worst landing pages. It’s what ultimately makes a visitor click-through to your offer, so it should always include a benefit statement. It’s always better to only ask visitors to take one specific action on the page. If you absolutely have to include more than one, the first call-to-action must be prominent and above the fold to help visitors prioritize.

best landing pagesThe last tip: show some customers your landing page design and content before you publish it. They’ve already bought from you and can probably talk about the benefits of buying your product or service even better than you can. Put their ideas to good use and tweak your content as needed. Then make it live, check analytics regularly, and never stop testing.

Need help building the best landing page for your business? Novo Writing is your one-stop shop. From developing a concept to writing the copy to creating content for the offer, we can manage the entire process for you. We work closely with several talented web designers so you only have to deal with one company for a complete solution. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.