What are you the best at? Writing haikus in Latin? Underwater pogo-sticking? Maybe growing onions the size of pumpkins?
Kudos to you, but unless you’re an onion farmer, none of those hidden talents will help you grow your business. On the other hand, becoming best at marketing your landing pages will.
Today, nearly half the world uses the web to find everything from entertainment like flash games to answers to questions like “Why is my marketing failing?”
For businesses, this presents an opportunity. The ones that provide better answers and entertainment than their competition generate customers in a continuous stream.
With each valuable piece of content they publish — a fun social media post here, an informative blog article there — experts guide prospects down their marketing funnels to one of the most powerful tools for driving user action: A landing page.
Data shows that companies with over 40 landing pages generate 12x more leads. But as compelling as they are, they can’t do the job alone.
For a persuasive standalone page to succeed, it needs to attract the prospects that are most likely to convert. So how do you become the best at marketing landing pages with all the tools and techniques available in 2016?
Optimizing for organic search isn’t easy. If you’ve spent any time trying to boost your visibility in Google, Bing, and Yahoo, you know that keeping up with algorithms can be exhausting. Sometimes, it takes a little monetary investment to get your business in front of the people who matter.
That’s where paid search comes in. In 2016, being the best at search advertising is about offering only the most relevant ads to Internet users. That means ditching the old mentality of bidding on broad pay-per-click terms like “bankruptcy lawyer,” and instead focusing on long-tail keywords more relevant to your business, like “bankruptcy lawyer for small businesses in Tampa, Florida.”
It also means using marketing tags to track the behavior of your prospects and deliver advertisements based on that behavior. The experts use tags from services like Google Dynamic Remarketing to target prospects with PPC advertisements based on the pages they view and the actions they take. Then they use Google Analytics to gain deeper insights into those actions — what they mean and how they can be optimized to boost business.
According to Search Engine Journal, 91% of search experts say remarketing is effective, and 62% spend between $1,000 and $5,000 per month on PPC campaigns:
We’re not saying you have to spend that kind of money on paid search, but experimenting with a limited budget to drive landing page traffic is certainly worth a try.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr — the list of platforms goes on and on. Which ones should you be on?
To get the highest ROI from social media, you must know who your target audience is, and where they hang out online. Here’s a breakdown of user demographics on all the biggest networks.
Once you’ve figured that out, remember that no matter where you end up, visual content is taking over. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2019, 80% of all internet traffic will be to videos.
If you haven’t already, make room for more images, infographics, and videos on your content calendar, and use them to tell stories. Social media is all about connecting with your audience (hence “social”), and humans have been connecting through storytelling for more than 25,000 years. Using tools like Facebook Live and Canvas you’ll be able to immerse your audience in highly shareable content that engages like never before (and you can drive people to your landing pages with it).
When it comes to promoting that content, keep in mind that organic reach for brands on social is declining. Today, you have to pay to play, and that’s not changing anytime soon. In 2013, social media advertising generated $6.1 billion in revenue, and by 2017, that number is projected to grow to $11 billion:
The end of 2016 is also expected to see the rise of a new kind of brand promotion on social media: Chatbots. So far 18,000 of these automated customer service agents have been developed by brands on Facebook to help fans do everything from order flowers to book a vacation. Now that the social network has loosened restrictions on the promotional content chatbots can deliver to users, they can refer fans to relevant product landing pages.
According to Ascend2’s 2016 State of Digital Marketing report, 61% of marketers say email is their most effective channel:
As is the case with so many other channels, in 2016, marketing your landing page with email has a lot do with personalization. Contextual content that adjusts to its recipient offers a more relevant customer experience, as do highly targeted segments. Studies have shown personalized emails are 2.5x more likely to be opened, and they generate 6x more sales.
To understand how email can boost landing page effectiveness, first consider this stat from Marketo: Approximately 96% of visitors to your website aren’t ready to buy.
So how do you get that majority to join the 4% who are ready to buy from you? You nurture them to sale with email.
Offer content tailored to your prospect with email lists segmented by demographics like geography, age, gender, and industry — but don’t stop there. Using technology like Autopilot, you can personalize your content even further by targeting based on behavior like past purchase or pages visited.
To make sure your emails get opened, write compelling subject lines. Then, in the body of your email, send prospects to landing pages offering content relevant to their stage of the buyer’s journey.
Before you hit “send,” don’t forget to make sure your emails are responsive. More people access the internet via mobile devices today, so content that displays well on screens of all sizes is a must.
There are nearly 11x more B2B businesses using automation tools today than there were in 2016. Marketers everywhere are beginning to see the ROI that comes from integrating technology across digital channels. In fact, 91% of the most successful users agree that automation is “very important” to their overall marketing success:
Tools like Instapage offer a shortcut to landing page deployment for marketers from teams at Allstate and Oracle. Software from Google allows advertisers to target laser-specific segments and gain insight from user action on web pages. Customer relationship management technology from Salesforce allows businesses to track prospects at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Use these automation tools to paint a broader picture of your customers’ lifecycle so you can provide personalized content at every stage of your funnel.
Without content marketing, a lot of landing pages on the internet would be worthless. Why? Because many feature some content as an offer: an ebook, a white paper, a template, for example.
These offers (and content marketing in general) focus on positioning your business as an authority in your niche through education. By creating valuable content that helps your prospects solve their problems, the idea is that once they’re ready to buy, they’ll come to you as a source they’ve learned to trust.
According to Search Engine Journal, content marketing is rated as the most important digital marketing technique by 66% of respondents in their 2016 State Of Digital Marketing report:
That same report claims the content that produces the highest ROI is what you’ll see offered on a lot of landing pages.
In 2016, with the help of marketing automation, content marketing is about more than just offering valuable content; it’s about offering that content at the right time.
Today marketers have an endless array of tools at their disposal to help them track a customer’s journey from beginning to end. Use them to offer the right whitepaper, ebook, and case studies at the right stage of your marketing funnel. Want to know more about what to offer when? Check out number 4 in this blog post.
While traditional advertising focuses on getting a message in front of prospects with paid methods like Google AdWords and banner ads, inbound marketing emphasizes using organic techniques like link building and on-page SEO.
To be a great inbound marketer in 2016, forget slaving away for Google’s spiders and instead spend your time trying to please prospects. Panda, Penguin, and other algorithm changes over the years have focused on improving user experience, so if you want a spot on page one of SERPs, that’s what you need to do, too.
Take, for instance, the way Google ranks web pages now. In the past, search engines relied heavily on keyword placement and density (where keywords were located and how many times they were mentioned in an article) to prioritize relevant search results. To Google’s old algorithm, a page that included many mentions of “crystal jewelry” was the most relevant to people searching for crystal jewelry. But in reality, that wasn’t always the case.
Soon, black hat search engine optimizers began to “stuff” as many keywords as they could into web pages to trick search engines into prioritizing them on page one. As a result, Latent Semantic Indexing was born.
Instead of ranking a page based on a specific keyword or phrase, LSI analyzes all a page’s content to, as Bruce Clay describes, uncover its “central theme”:
“In latent semantic indexing, Google sorts sites on the frequency of a variety of terms and key phrases linked together instead of on the frequency of a single term. Though your text content should include your primary keyword or phrase, the content should never focus solely on that keyword or phrase. There is a possibility that Google may see the page as being over-optimized and penalties or a dip in rankings may result.”
Tricking Google’s algorithm is a lot harder in 2016, which means your content should contain accurate keywords and synonyms without going overboard. Focus on making it valuable to readers and prospects. Ask yourself:
Spend your time creating valuable content and improving user experience, and you’ll excel at inbound marketing.
“Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.”
Smart Passive Income’s Pat Flynn makes it sound easy, but affiliate marketing has become anything but recent years. While the industry was once known as a hotbed for fraud, improved search algorithms and security measures have weeded out a lot of unethical practitioners.
Once, affiliates could turn a profit by gaming a search engine for improved rankings, or by spamming unsuspecting internet users with pop-up ads. Today, it’s not so simple.
To succeed as an affiliate marketer in 2016, you need to:
The most important component of affiliate marketing strategy in 2016? “Content marketing” adds Truong. Without content, you won’t attract an audience to sell to.
Sometimes marketing your landing page might seem too hard to do alone. When that happens, get by with a little help from your (famous) friends.
These people with massive followings are known in the marketing world as “influencers” for their ability to affect your prospects’ behavior through posts and updates. Putting your product in their hands has the potential to gain you broad exposure, and drive traffic to the pages where customers are made.
Schlesinger Associates reports that last year, 84% of marketing and communications professionals planned to launch at least one influencer marketing campaign in the following twelve months; and 81% of marketers who had previously completed an influencer marketing campaign reported that it was effective.
Start by using social listening tools to identify the people who are talking about your brand. If you have trouble, find out who else your fans follow. From whom are they getting their favorite content?
Make sure that when you find them, you check to make sure an influencer’s followers are engaging. Partnering with someone whose fan base is in the hundreds of thousands may seem exciting at first, but it won’t be if you find out the majority of their fanbase is fake.
From there, a simple and honest outreach message on your brand’s behalf will get the relationship off to a good start. Check their profile for instructions on how to best contact them. Many influencers’ accounts are managed by an outside agency that handles business requests.
Consider offering compensation or some form of cross-promotion to the influencer. Remember that the key to developing a relationship is to make it mutually beneficial. Then, brainstorm to determine what kind of content would best suit your partnership.
If cross-promotion is the ultimate goal, you might simply share each other's posts and account handles, the way Nathan Chan from Foundr did with Rich20Something. Or maybe an unboxing video would generate more interest in your product.
With 8 out of 10 marketers claiming it’s effective, regardless of how you do it, partnering with an influencer is worth a try.
The web is becoming a more visual place every day, and for good reason: We humans have evolved to process information better when it’s presented as in image or video.
Today, 87% of marketers use these visual aids to promote their landing pages and even convert the people who visit them (over 70% of B2B marketers claim video converts better than any other type of content). Here’s how you can, too:
Create an explainer video: Describing what your product or service does isn’t always easy. For your prospects, sometimes understanding what you do is just as hard. A short and simple video that shows the problem your business solves and how it works can help get the point across. An explainer video helped Dropbox grow from 0 to 100 million users, and Crazy Egg generate an additional $21,000 in monthly revenue. Learn more about how to create one here.
Record a video testimonial: Testimonials from satisfied clients show you’re good at what you do, and filmed ones are even more powerful because they humanize the subject more than any image can. A photo of Jim C. along with a positive quote might convince prospects he was a happy customer, but a video of Jim speaking that quote himself will send your credibility soaring.
Film a video case study: These are similar to video testimonials, but instead of focusing solely on the people at your client’s business, they spend time showcasing the results of your work. When you film one of these, the overall structure should follow a situation-action-result. Start by explaining the problem your customer faced and why they chose your service. Then, briefly describe how you solve that problem and the results that you produced.
Tell a story that makes your customers feel: When it comes to driving customers to your landing page, there are few things more compelling than an emotionally charged video. There’s no shortage of stats that prove this. To move your audience, think of how your product or service has the potential to create meaningful experiences (think Mastercard’s “Priceless” campaign). Use that to tell a story, and make sure you’re using CTAs to drive viewers to relevant landing pages.
Remember, just over two years from now, it’s expected that 80% of all internet traffic will be to video. To be a great landing page marketer, you can’t afford to ignore the medium’s appeal to web users.
One of the greatest places to promote your landing page is at an event. Why? The attendees are likely an audience relevant to your business.
In the days leading up to your event, build an event landing page and promote it with social media and email. During, create a hashtag people can search to find all event-related content, including your links to other landing pages. Afterward, turn recordings and transcripts into a lead magnet that you can offer in exchange for prospects’ information.
A combination of practicality and power make A/B testing a favorite optimization technique of both marketing newbies and veterans. But to be the best at it, you have to understand a few things:
Never test without a reason to. From that reason, develop a hypothesis. For example, “After using heat mapping software, I found that most people aren’t noticing the CTA button. Because of that, I believe that making the CTA button more prominent will produce a conversion lift.”
Testing one element at a time, like a headline vs. another headline, will give you greater insight into what produced your lift, but it might not always be practical. Sometimes you need to sacrifice insight for practicality because time and resources aren’t always on your side. In the end, if one page performs better than another, does it really matter why?
Run your test long enough to reach statistical significance. Too many marketers make important business decisions based off test results that aren’t valid, declaring one page the winner before enough data has been collected. Don’t let this happen to you.
Once you’ve concluded a test, and you’re confident the results are valid, optimize based on your data — but don’t stop there. Just because you’ve produced a lift doesn’t mean your landing page is perfect. Keep looking for deficiencies and trying to improve them.
The list of people who have boosted business with A/B testing grows every day (even President Obama used split-testing to generate $60 million in revenue). Keep these best practices in mind, and you’ll be on your way to joining it.
This goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: The only way to make impactful decisions is with data. Nearly two-thirds of senior marketers agree that it’s crucial to business success
So what kind of data do top marketers use to optimize their landing pages?
Each one of these questions will help you get a better idea of how to improve your landing pages, but keep in mind this list isn’t exhaustive. For optimization purposes, the more data you can collect, the better — as long as it’s meaningful data. Just because you have the ability to track a metric doesn't mean that you should.
What techniques do you use to drive people to your landing page, and drive action on it? Let us know in the comments, then create a professional landing page in minutes with Instapage’s designer-friendly platform.