Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Mackenzie

Word of mouth marketing has been a subject of discussion in inbound marketing circles for quite some time. It’s a particularly challenging subject for B2Bs, who function in niche industries like manufacturing. Many B2Bs feel that word of mouth marketing is the only, best way to get leads. And while we certainly won’t disagree that word of mouth marketing is powerful, we do have some thoughts (and some stats to back them up), about why traditional word of mouth marketing is out, and why modern word of mouth marketing can’t stand on its own if you’re trying to grow your company. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about what word of mouth marketing is, in both the traditional and the modern sense, and we’re going to talk about when you need it, and when you don’t. 

Word of mouth marketing (or WOMM for short) is a big component of many marketing strategies, but we’re here to tell you why it shouldn’t be your only marketing strategy. Let’s start by taking a look at what WOMM is: 

Traditional Word of Mouth Marketing

Traditional word of mouth marketing is exactly what it sounds like. Before the internet exploded in popularity, companies built brand awareness and grew their business primarily from having their customers talk about them to other industry members. 

In B2B applications, especially in the manufacturing industry, this was a major driver of business because the industries are so niche. The best way to get quality leads was to have a quality reputation. When you had that, you could rely on WOMM to get you both the leads that you wanted and the ones you needed. 

Unfortunately, following the internet boom, WOMM has seen a slow decline in success, even for those B2B manufacturers who have relied on it as their primary form of marketing for decades. So why isn’t traditional WOMM working anymore?

Why Traditional Word of Mouth Marketing Doesn’t Cut it Anymore 

The number one answer to that question is the internet. When the internet blew up, it became easy for anyone to find the products, services, and solutions they needed, right from their own computer or smartphone. No need to pick up a phone or talk to a friend — the necessary information was directly at the consumer’s fingertips. 

For B2Bs, and particularly B2B manufacturers, this change happened slowly. These industries are niche, and many manufacturers feel that they know the key players without heading to the web. 

Today, though, as many incoming engineers and manufacturing sales professionals are tech natives, used to finding solutions and products online, manufacturers are realizing the importance of having a web presence and a dedicated marketing team. 

In all honesty, if you’re still relying on traditional WOMM to bring in leads, you’re not going to see the same growth as your competition. 

To continue to grow and be successful as a company, in any industry, a legitimate digital presence is a required qualification. 

Why? Well, that’s where modern word of mouth marketing comes in.

Modern Word of Mouth Marketing

If I had a dime for every time a prospective client said, “oh we get 90% of our leads through referrals. We’re not sure if digital marketing will really move the needle.” I probably wouldn’t be writing these blogs anymore. 

Guess what? They’re almost always wrong. Why?

Because while traditional marketing methods did bring in a whole bunch of leads for a number of B2Bs in the past, in today’s digital world, the internet has flipped the switch. 

Enter modern word of mouth marketing.

What is Modern Word of Mouth Marketing?

Also known as amplified word of mouth marketing, this new, modern version of WOMM takes advantage of all the new technology that has erupted in the past decade or so, like Facebook, Linkedin, and Google. All of these platforms encourage what is essentially a digital form of word of mouth marketing with reviews that can be published and shared

For many companies, this amplified or modern WOMM has taken the place of traditional word of mouth marketing. But it’s better. 

With traditional marketing, you could get referral leads, but usually only from people in your area, who you knew or had talked to at a conference or trade show. 

How Does Modern Word of Mouth Marketing Work?

Modern WOMM eliminates the need for any of that proximity. You get all of the benefits of traditional marketing — the company goodwill, the great reputation, and the warm leads — without the constraints.

Anyone can go online, read your reviews, and make a decision about your company and product. They don’t have to be from the same town or even the same country! 

Studies have shown that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much, or more than personal recommendations. 

According to PowerReviews, 97% of consumers consult product reviews.

You already knew that WOMM was important. These facts just drive home the point that digital reviews have taken the place of traditional word of mouth marketing. 

What’s more, this digital strategy works much harder for you than traditional word of mouth marketing. Take a look:

  • Reviews can be shared, posted, and boosted with social media ad spend
  • Digital reviews make it easier for you to connect with your clients and customers. Easily see who’s left a review, and what they’ve said.
  • Build visible trust. The more positive reviews and comments your company gets, the more trust you’ll have with people just learning about your brand. 
  • The ROI is outstanding. According to IMPACT, word of mouth marketing generates 2x more sales than paid ads. And it doesn’t cost you much if anything at all. 

Why Any Form of WOMM  Alone Won’t Get You Leads

Alright, so modern word of mouth marketing is awesome. I hope we’ve made that clear. At no point would we ever say that word of mouth marketing wasn’t worthwhile, for any company in any industry. 

With that in mind, it is important, especially for my B2Bs out there to remember that modern WOMM isn’t going to help your company grow on its own. To explain why, let’s go back to a statement I made about traditional word of mouth marketing earlier.

“The best way to get quality leads was to have a quality reputation.”

That’s still true of modern word of mouth marketing. 

In today’s world, you can’t have a quality reputation without a quality digital presence. 

Anyone who hears about an awesome company, whether you manufacture parts for automobiles or you develop excellent machine test technology, is going to head to the company’s website first. 

If your website is shitty and from 2001, that lead won’t stick around. 

For the sake of example, let’s say you have an awesome new website. That lead is interested in your company. 

But, when they start clicking through your website, they can’t figure out how your products are priced. There’s no pricing sheet for them to download, or even a content offer explaining to them the differences between your products and product models. Or worse, maybe they can’t figure out how to contact you. 

You’ve lost that lead again. 

WOMM is Best Used in Conjunction with a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy

There are a lot more examples I could use, but I think you’ve probably gotten the point. In today’s digital era, WOMM on its own isn’t going to help your company grow. 

While modern WOMM — with reviews and comments that can be shared, liked, and interacted with — is a useful and proven tool, it should not be the only way you expect to generate leads

If you’re a manufacturing company that’s lived off of word of mouth referrals for decades, it’s important to realize that the times are changing. Even with excellent referrals, you’re not going to see the growth you could be capitalizing on if you don’t invest in a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Things like:

  1. A website optimized for search engines
  2. Calls to action
  3. Unique landing pages that capture leads
  4. Well-ranking content that puts you ahead of the competition
  5. A professional presence on social media platforms

All of these are factors that will help boost your modern word of mouth marketing potential, and help your company grow as a whole. 

Digital marketing works best when it is applied in a comprehensive fashion. 

Just one or two strategies aren’t going to help your company grow. 

While word of mouth marketing is important for your B2B company, it’s important to realize that there are so many other strategies out there that could be helping you get more word of mouth leads, and just more leads in general. 

If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, or if you’re convinced that digital marketing isn’t going to put you that much farther ahead than the referrals you’re already getting, I invite you to check out the case study below. 

In it, we’ve outlined with clarity how a comprehensive digital marketing strategy has put this cleanroom manufacturer ahead of the competition and helped them grow significantly throughout our partnership. 

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And if you’ve got more questions about word of mouth marketing for B2Bs, or if you’re interested to see how a full digital marketing strategy could put you ahead of those manufacturers who still rely solely on word of mouth, please get in touch. We’re here and we’re more than happy to help.

7 Content Marketing Strategies to Take Your Company to the Next Level

7 Content Marketing Strategies to Take Your Company to the Next Level

Mackenzie

Content marketing tends to get a bad rap. First of all, it’s hard. It takes a lot of effort, and no matter what type of content marketing strategies you’re invested in, you need a writer to make it happen. 

As a content strategist and writer myself, I could be a little biased in my love for content marketing, but study after study has shown that content marketing is one of the most effective inbound marketing methods to take your company to the next level when it comes to digital presence, lead generation, and most importantly to you — ROI. 

Once you have a good content marketing strategy in place, it can provide some of the highest returns, with very little investment on your part. With all of those awesome benefits in mind, then how do you get started with content marketing? 

Are there some strategies that are better, more proven, or easier than others?

We say yes. 

While nearly all forms of content marketing are effective, there are a select few that are proven to drive serious results, especially when implemented and executed properly. We’re here to talk about those seven. Use the menu below to jump to the strategy you’re most interested in, or read all the way through for everything you’ve ever needed to know to set your company apart from the competition with intuitive content marketing strategies. 

7 Content Marketing Strategies to Take Your Company to the Next Level

#1 Blogging Strategy

Blogging feels like a given, but we’re going to talk about it anyway because it’s that important. If you want to up your company’s digital presence — that is, rank ahead of key competition, be the first in search results, and more — you need to blog, and you need to blog with intention. 

Start by developing a true blogging strategy. Do keyword research and figure out which search terms are:

  • Relevant to your business
  • Highly searched
  • Easy to rank for (that is, they have low competition for organic search results)
  • Interesting and useful to your ideal buyer personas

Then, develop a blogging schedule and strategy around those keywords. When you’re developing a blogging strategy to stick to, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Blog regularly (on a monthly or weekly schedule)
  • Write blogs that satisfy a buyer persona’s pain point or question
  • Ensure that your content creation structure makes sense. This is important for SEO and ranking purposes. See this blog on topic clusters for more information there. 
  • Write blogs that are long enough to satisfy readers and search engines alike. We recommend at least 1,000 words.

If you blog regularly, on topics that are relevant and useful to your ideal buyer personas, you’ll start to see results. And if you’re honest, and your information is actually helpful to those ideal buyer personas, you’ll keep rising up through the SERPs for those keywords that matter most to you, and your ideal buyers. 

#2 Email Marketing Strategy

If blogging is how you leverage content marketing to reach strangers, then email marketing is how you leverage content marketing to reach leads you already know. 

Email marketing gives you a decided advantage when it comes to nurturing leads through to close: 

  • You already have the lead’s contact information
  • You have a general sense of what they’re looking for — which product or service they’re interested in
  • You likely know what company they work for
  • You know that they already have at least some interest in your company — they did give you their email address, after all. 

Use this information to your benefit. Email marketing is about strategy. Given what you know about your contacts, what information will they need to keep moving towards closing a sale?

And, considering that many email marketing tools allow you to automate workflows, you can use these features to set up email workflows and let the tools do the work for you. While you can’t quite forget about your workflows, you can check back on the analytics and optimize as you go. 

Email marketing is one of the only tools that allows you to market directly to people who are already interested in the products or services you’re offering. If you’re looking to boost your digital presence and close more deals while you’re at it, a solid email marketing strategy is a must. 

#3 Social Media Marketing Strategy

If we’re talking about taking your company to the next level, we have to talk about social media. 

There’s no better way to get the word out about your company, and build a brand and personality, than on social media. And remember that building your social media presence is about more than just getting likes and comments. The more followers you have, the wider reach the rest of your content will have. 

Your social media marketing strategy should be just as calculated as your blogging strategy — it’s a common misconception that keywords don’t apply to the wild west of Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter. 

That’s not true, especially for a platform like Linkedin, where people are searching for companies and employees by the keywords you’re already trying to rank for. For a killer social media marketing strategy check out this post, and keep the following tips in mind: 

  • Follow a regular posting schedule
  • Curate content that’s specific to each platform. What resonates on Instagram isn’t what resonates or is appropriate for Linkedin.
  • Vary your topics. Don’t just talk about what’s happening in your office or promote your blog posts. Share great posts from other industry leaders, share fun content when appropriate, and make sure you’re curating an interesting feed for followers.
  • Incorporate your keywords where it’s relevant. Don’t spam your followers with unnecessary hashtags, but do be conscious about what terms you’re using in social media copy. 

If your company is new to social media, we always suggest starting small. Pick one platform, like Linkedin or Facebook, and put all of your efforts into building a following there. When you feel comfortable managing one platform, and you feel like you have a handle on how to get and maintain followers, you can expand into additional platforms. 

#4 Video Strategy

Video is hands-down one of the best ways to engage visitors. 

People love video content, search engines love video content, and you should love video content, too. 

That said, we know that developing a video strategy can be a little scary. It’s a much more involved process than writing a blog post, and it takes more time and money than any other content marketing strategy out there.

Remember that you don’t always have to produce professional-quality videos. While you might invest in professional help for videos that are going up on your website, a simple how-to video can be done on a smartphone, as long as your audio quality is good, and you have plenty of natural light. 

It’s true that video is a lot of work. It’s usually one of the last content marketing strategies that companies tend to invest in, for that reason. But if you’re really looking to stand out online, video is a surefire way to do it. Don’t take my word for it, though. Here are a few stats that should convince you, if I haven’t already:

Okay, so not only are most marketers already using video content, but one-third of all the internet activity online is spent watching video. Put that with the fact that video is highly shareable, and that most marketing professionals report it as having a very high ROI, and you really can’t go wrong. 

We live in a visual culture. 

People are watching videos constantly. 

Most millennials would prefer to watch a two-minute explainer video that tells them about your services, rather than read about it. 

Investing in a quality video strategy will boost your digital presence far beyond your competitors. Just make sure you’re transcribing all of your videos, so search engines can rank that valuable content for you, too. 

#5 Content Offer Development

One of the most tried-and-true content marketing strategies to exist in the digital world is content offer development. Plain and simple, content offers work. 

When you take the time to put together a valuable resource that someone interested in your product or service genuinely wants or needs, it’s going to pay off. 

Since we’re content marketing strategy fiends, we’ve tested, written, rewritten, and retested about a million content offers. I can tell you with confidence, nothing converts leads better than a quality content offer. 

So what does this do to grow your company? 

Well, if you have an awesome content offer, you can share it around social media and promote it on your email marketing strategy. It’s great for your company’s digital presence in that way. But, if we’re talking big picture, which we should be, content offers are what get you leads. 

If someone is interested enough in what you have to say that they give up their email address, they’re a qualified lead. 

And when your content offers are drawing in qualified leads, your company is going to see some growth. 

But how do you develop content offers that work?

Think about the questions you get the most often.

What holds people up from making a purchasing decision? Do they have trouble deciding between your products? If so, create a product comparison guide. Are they on the fence about how much of a difference your service will make for their company? Create a content offer that talks about the specific benefits your service provides. 

Develop content offers for specific stages of your buyer’s journey.

You know who your buyer personas are. You know what they’re looking for. You should know the places that they tend to fall out of the buyer’s journey. Whether they get stuck comparing your product to a competitor, or they just can’t decide if your service is worth the money, develop content offers that speak to those specific stages of the buyer’s journey. 

When you have at least one content offer for the awareness, consideration, and decision-making phase of the buyer’s journey, plus content that nurtures potential leads through some of your most common sticking points, you’ll start seeing more leads convert, in less time. 

Only gate the content offers that matter most. 

No matter how many content offers you’ve developed, make sure you’re only gating the ones that matter most. 

The new, most effective trend in digital marketing is to leave most of your content offers open to the public. Instead, you can offer those content offers as downloadable PDFs. This works to help you weed out unqualified contacts. Readers who are really interested in what you have to say, and want to take your offer home with them to read again, are likely to download the PDF and give you their contact information.

While you can still gate a few content offers — like checklists or product pricing guides — try to make your content as accessible to leads as possible, while still giving them the opportunity to give you their contact information. 

#6 Targeted Landing Pages

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times — your home page is NOT a landing page. You’ve dedicated time and effort to a specific, relevant content development strategy that’s designed for multiple buyer personas — why would you send them all to the same bland, basic landing page?

They don’t have the same goals for your company, they don’t have the same needs, and they’re not all at the same place in the buyer’s journey. Targeted landing pages are one of the most effective content marketing strategies you can implement to directly improve your company’s digital ROI. 

Don’t take my word for it though. This company increased online ROI by 60%, just by optimizing their landing pages. 

That’s so easy! Landing pages are some of the shortest, most simple pages of content. Just write a lot of them, and develop them with specific keywords in mind, and you’ll start to see some serious results. 

Before we get off the landing page rant train, let’s just close with one more example. 

Say you’re scrolling through Instagram, and an ad comes up for a really awesome hoodie. It’s exactly what you’ve been looking for, and you’re ready to make the purchase. But when you click the ad, instead of being sent directly to that hoodie’s product page, you’re sent to the Amazon home page. 

What a disappointment. 

Are you going to search through Amazon’s massive website to find that specific hoodie and checkout while you’re on your 10-minute coffee break? Yeah. Didn’t think so.

That’s all targeted landing pages are. Pages that offer your ideal buyers exactly the content they were looking for in the first place. Invest just a bit of time in landing pages that are targeted to specific buyer personas and specific content offers, and you’ll start to see results. 

#7 Content Promotion Strategy

Our final content marketing tip is to have a content promotion strategy. All of your other content marketing strategies — your blog, your social media, and even your email marketing — won’t mean much if you’re not working to get the word out. You should spend at least as much time promoting content as you do creating it. 

When it comes to content marketing, you can do all the work of building and developing an awesome content marketing strategy, but if you’re not drawing people into your website to read your content, you’re not going to see the benefits you were looking for. Here are a few ways to take your content promotion strategy to the next level:

  • Cross-Channel Promotion. Promote your blogs on social media channels. Add social media buttons to the bottom of your email newsletters. Share your email subscribe link on social media, at the bottom of blogs, etc. You’re creating content in a variety of channels, as this blog has shown. Make sure your followers know about all of the opportunities you’re offering them to read more amazing content. 
  • Search Engine Optimization. The better optimized your site and content are, the more likely you are to boost organic traffic coming to your site. And when you have more traffic, you have a greater potential for leads. Check out this blog for tips on ensuring your content is following SEO best practices. 
  • Paid Search Advertising. If you’re just getting your content marketing strategy up and running, paid search is a great way to draw in the traffic you need now, without waiting for your site to organically come up in SERPs. Make sure you’re only bidding on relevant keywords, and stick to a budget, but with a little help from paid search, you’ll start seeing the traffic you’ve been looking for. 
  • Boosted or Paid Social Media. Boosted social media posts and paid social media promotion is a great way to get your social media marketing strategy off the ground, too. Boosted posts help ensure your content is reaching all of your followers. Social media ad campaigns can help you expand your reach, by getting more likes, more followers, or just getting the word out about your company.

Start with one or two of these content promotion tactics, and see how they work. Then, make sure you’re adding them to your content marketing strategy and schedule. When you’ve scheduled in time to focus on content promotion, you’re more likely to make it happen.

Content marketing is tough. It takes a lot of work and it takes a good writer — or three. If you don’t have a writer on staff, or if you’re just not sure how to jump into more content marketing strategies, we can help. Get in touch with the Evenbound team for more information, or check out the case study below to see exactly how we’ve helped our clients stand out from the competition with killer content marketing strategies.

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Direct Traffic Vs Organic Traffic: Everything You Need to Know

Direct Traffic Vs Organic Traffic: Everything You Need to Know

Mackenzie

TL;DR Direct Traffic vs Organic Traffic

If you’re just looking for a face value answer to “direct traffic vs organic traffic”, then organic traffic is any traffic that comes from search engines and is earned, not paid. Direct traffic is any traffic that does not come from a referring website.

Most people think of direct traffic as visitors physically typing your URL into their web browser, but there’s a little bit more to it than that. If you want to dig deeper and learn where all of your traffic is really coming from, keep reading.

To really get a handle on the direct traffic vs organic traffic difference, it’s worth it to understand how all of your websites’ traffic sources are classified by analytics tools like HubSpot or Google Analytics.

Types of Traffic Sources

Most website analytic tools will organize your traffic sources into the following categories: 

Direct Traffic — As we mentioned, direct traffic is categorized as traffic that does not come from a referring website. If traffic is coming from an unknown source, it will likely be categorized as direct traffic as well. 

Organic Traffic — Organic traffic is any traffic that comes to your site from a search engine, but that isn’t paid for. Any organic traffic is going to be a result of your inbound marketing and SEO efforts. 

Paid Search Traffic — Paid search traffic is any traffic that comes from a paid search campaign you’ve launched on a search engine like Google or Bing. 

Social Traffic — Any traffic that comes from a social media website, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Email Traffic — If you are properly tagging your email campaigns with email parameters, any traffic that arrives to your site from an email will show up as email traffic.

Referral Traffic — Traffic that comes to your website from any other website that is not a social media platform or a search engine. Someone clicking over from a backlink on another blog would be considered referral traffic.

Other — If you have any traffic that doesn’t fit into the above categories, or has been specifically tagged as “other”, it will fall into this traffic category

Now that we have a clear understanding of all of the different types of traffic sources, let’s dive into two of the most important: direct traffic and organic traffic. We’re going to start with direct traffic because honestly, it’s a little complicated.  

Understanding Direct Traffic

Direct traffic is supposed to be any traffic that’s coming directly to your site. That means anyone typing your URL into their web browser or clicking to your site from a bookmarked link. Unfortunately, direct traffic really isn’t as clear cut as that.

This experiment done by SearchEngineLand and Groupon revealed that as much as 60% of traffic considered to be direct traffic is actually organic traffic. 

How does that work?

Well, browsers don’t always report where visitors arrived from when they make it to a website. If your analytics tool can’t figure out where traffic comes from, they just assume it’s direct traffic. Since that visitor doesn’t have a referral, your analytics don’t know where they came from, and they automatically dump them into the direct traffic bucket. 

Why Do I Care If My Direct Traffic Is Miscategorized?

Good question. 

Does it really matter that a bunch of your traffic isn’t being properly categorized? What’s the point of knowing where your traffic is coming from, and doing all that work to minimize false “direct traffic” visitors?

The answer is data. 

Any digital marketer knows that the best way to improve marketing tactics and draw in more qualified leads is to first know where your leads are coming from, and why.

If you can’t figure out where much of your direct traffic is coming from, you’re missing out on a big marketing opportunity. You can’t see what keywords those visitors are clicking over from or what terms they’re searching for.

So where is my direct traffic actually coming from?

If your direct traffic isn’t really direct, then what is it? Well, the internet isn’t perfect. To give your website analytics tool the proper referrals for every site visit, every little aspect of a link has to be in perfect shape, and that just doesn’t always happen. That said, here are a few specific reasons you might be seeing really high direct traffic numbers:

HTTPS→HTTP Referrals

If you haven’t yet secured your site, you have an HTTP site. That means you won’t see tracking on any visitors coming from a secure, HTTPS, site. This is a function of the secure protocol, and it’s actually a fairly easy fix. 

You just need a third-party SSL certificate, and you can update your site to be secure. Then, you’ll see all the referral information you need from visitors coming to your site from other secure websites. 

Bad Redirects & Missing or Broken Tracking Codes

Another big culprit for unnecessary direct traffic is that something’s not working on your end. Maybe you forgot to put in the tracking code on a new landing page. 

Anyone who clicks through from that landing page to another page on your site will appear to Google Analytics as a new user when they hit that second page. To Google, it seems like you’ve self-referred your own visitor. When that happens and your domain has been excluded, Google will automatically dump that visit in the direct traffic bucket. The same thing happens if your tracking codes fail or break. 

Bad redirects can also be to blame, in a similar way. If you’re using anything other than SEO best practices for your redirects, you run the risk of UTM parameters being stripped out. Complex redirect chains can wipe referrer data, contributing to more direct traffic for you.

Traffic from Mobile Apps, Desktop Software, and Some Email Clients

Unfortunately, sometimes there’s just no way to avoid direct traffic that really isn’t direct. Many mobile apps, desktop software programs, and some email clients, like Outlook just don’t pass on referring information. 

You can tell if you’re having an issue with email if you see a spike in direct traffic right after you send out a big email campaign, but it can be difficult to identify traffic coming from mobile apps and desktop software.

Legit Direct Traffic

And sometimes, some of your direct traffic really is direct. Maybe you wrote an awesome blog that people keep bookmarking, or maybe you have a great reputation in your area and people just navigate directly to your site.

If you haven’t blocked your employee’s IP addresses, you could be getting direct traffic in your analytics from them navigating to the website. Direct traffic is an actual traffic source, so it’s important to remember that some of your direct traffic visitors can really be navigating right to you. 

There are a variety of contributors to unnecessary direct traffic. While these are the most common and the easiest to identify, you can still see direct traffic coming from offline sources, people sharing your site through direct messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, and more.  

While you can’t address all of these instances, there are a few you can fix, so that you’re getting the best possible information about your site visitors, what they want, and where they’re coming from. 

How Can I Address Miscategorized Direct Traffic?

Moz has a really great Complete Guide to Direct Traffic in Google Analytics that shows you not only how to figure out where your direct traffic is coming from, but also how to fix it. Head over there for some detailed specific principles to follow to fix any concerns you have with direct traffic. For now, two of the best ways to make sure you’re doing everything you possibly can to manage unnecessary direct traffic are: 

  • Make Sure Your Site is HTTPS. If your site still has an HTTP web address, you’re going to be missing out on referrals that could tell you a lot about your site visitors. Migrating to an HTTPS site will ensure that you can track referral traffic as best possible, and it has the added benefit of helping you keep up with the future of the web. 
  • Master Campaign Tagging. You can only control what you can control when it comes to direct traffic. You can’t control browsers coming from mobile apps or from sites that aren’t HTTPS. You can control your campaign tagging. The better you are at tagging your campaigns, the better analytics you’ll see from those new site visitors. Again, check with Moz for an in-depth how-to here.

Now that we’ve cleared up what direct traffic is and is not, we can get to organic traffic, which in my opinion, is much less complicated. Remember that some of your direct traffic might be organic traffic that just doesn’t have the proper referral information. If you’re still not sure how that works, take a look at this study by SearchEngineLand

Understanding Organic Traffic

As we’ve talked about before, organic traffic is any traffic coming to your site from search engines that has not been influenced by any paid advertising. Not sure what that looks like? Check out our Anatomy of a SERP for a visual guide to where your organic traffic is coming from. 

How do I get organic traffic?

Organic traffic is generated by your ranking on search engine results pages. The higher your website ranks for search terms related to your company, the more organic traffic you’re going to see. Most inbound marketing tactics and strategies are founded on the goal of increasing search engine rankings to drive more organic traffic. 

Organic traffic is also driven by SEO or Search Engine Optimization. The more optimized your site is for search engines, the better it is likely to rank for those search terms your ideal clients are typing into Google. Check out this case study for some info on how SEO can help drive serious organic traffic and qualified leads. 

What’s the Biggest Difference Between Direct and Organic Traffic?

The biggest difference between direct and organic traffic really has to do with user intent. When you have a lot of organic traffic, that means that you’re doing a good job of developing your digital presence to cater to search engines. You’re ranking highly for specific search terms, which is driving more traffic to your website. When you have a lot of direct traffic, you’re either suffering from some of the issues we mentioned above, or you have a ton of brand awareness in your industry. 

For example, let’s say you’re searching for running shoes. If you’re ready to make a decision and are super loyal to Nike shoes, you’re going to type in Nike.com in your web browser and make a purchase. That’s a great example of quality direct traffic. 

If you’re not sure what shoes are right for you — let’s say you’re new to running or aren’t particularly fond of Nike shoes, you’re going to type into a Google search, “best running shoes for beginners.” When you click on one of the top results that isn’t an ad, you are organic traffic for that website.

For any marketer or website owner, it’s important to understand the direct traffic vs organic traffic difference. We hope this blog helped you identify key differences between the two, and gave you a bit of context behind some of the issues with direct traffic. If you have more questions about analyzing your website’s traffic sources, be sure to get in touch with the team at Evenbound. Our SEO experts are happy to answer any questions you might have.

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Building Better Landing Pages With HubSpot

Building Better Landing Pages With HubSpot

Mackenzie

When it comes to nearly any digital marketing strategy, landing pages are absolutely essential. The way you build, track, and optimize your landing pages can make or break your lead generation strategy, which is why we’re going to talk about building better landing pages using HubSpot’s landing page tool. But first, let’s make sure we’re all starting on the same page (no pun intended):

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is any web page a visitor lands on when they navigate to your website from somewhere else. Technically, a landing page could be any page on your website — your home page, a blog, or a services page. But if you’re doing digital marketing right, your landing page is an important lead capture tool that looks a little something like this.

What’s On a Good Landing Page?

We’ve covered just about all there is to cover when it comes to building a landing page, so if you’re looking for more in-depth information about what a landing page is, why you need one, and what a good one looks like, check out these awesome blogs for more detailed information:

To give you a quick refresher, just know that a great landing page has these four key elements: 

  • Attention-Grabbing Title
  • Helpful, Concise Content
  • Interesting Imagery
  • Easy to Complete Contact Form

These four elements make up the basic design of an awesome landing page.  

What Does HubSpot Have to do With Building Better Landing Pages?

If all you need is a title, content, an image, and a contact form, then how hard could building a landing page be?

Honestly, the design and build of your landing page is just a small component of a great landing page. The goal of any landing page is not just to get you leads, but also to give you information about the overall success of the product, offer, or event you’re promoting with this landing page.

Okay, So How Can I Use HubSpot to Build Better Landing Pages?

Now that we know why we care about HubSpot landing pages, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of building a better landing page with HubSpot. HubSpot offers a ton of features with their landing page tool, so while we won’t cover every single one in this blog, we will cover the features most important to the success of your lead generation and digital marketing strategy. Let’s start with our favorite benefit of HubSpot’s landing pages:

Optimize with Detailed Reporting

HubSpot’s best landing page feature is the detailed reporting they offer. You can assign landing pages to a specific campaign (more on this next), attach a landing page to a workflow, and generally just see everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how your visitors and leads are interacting with your offers, products, and events. A HubSpot landing page report looks a little like this: 

While HubSpot’s reporting is interactive, this image still gives you a great initial feel for how much data you can receive.HubSpot can tell you exactly how many views, submissions and new contacts that landing page delivers. Click To TweetIt will also tell you where those views, submissions, and contacts are coming from, whether that’s organic traffic, referrals, direct traffic, etc.  

You also get a bunch of helpful information that tells you how people are reacting to the landing page, like what the page’s bounce rate is, what its exit rate is, and how long (on average) people spend on that landing page. All of this data can help you improve your landing pages for even better performance.

For example, let’s say your bounce rate is really high. That tells you that people coming to your landing page aren’t getting what they thought they were going to get. Maybe your landing page is still connected to an old ad or an old social media post that’s no longer making the same offer.

You can use HubSpot’s reporting to see where the visitors to that landing page are coming from and troubleshoot your high bounce rate from there. Now that’s optimization made easy.

Inbound Marketing Tools that Improve your HubSpot Landing Pages

In addition to offering you in-depth data and reporting on the performance of your landing page, HubSpot has really geared their landing page tool to help inbound marketers succeed. Their landing pages are paired with some exceptionally robust inbound marketing tools that make your landing pages work for you, without you putting in a ton of extra work. This is where the HubSpot landing page feature really starts to flex its muscles.

Here are just a few of the tools we love to use when we create our own HubSpot landing pages:

Add to Workflow

You’re into marketing automation, right? Us too. HubSpot makes it really easy to associate any new landing page with an existing workflow. Just click the “Add to Workflow” button, and any contact who completes the landing page form will immediately be entered into the workflow of your choice. This is great when you’re building landing pages for specific content offers or webinars geared to just one buyer persona.

Send a Follow-Up Email

That all-important follow-up email. Let’s automate it. HubSpot also offers another easy button you can click to send a follow-up email immediately after a lead completes your form. You can develop the follow-up email however you like, but it’s a really important tool to keep those new leads in your sales funnel.

Add to Campaign

 If you’re on the inbound marketing train, you identify potential leads according to their buyer persona. You’ve developed a number of marketing campaigns geared specifically to each of those personas. Easily add a new landing page to any of those campaigns, and track that landing page’s performance in relation to that campaign. This sets you up to get all of the reporting data you need to see how successful your product, offer, or event really is.

SEO Help

One thing we don’t touch on a lot with landing pages is how they help with SEO. The quality of your landing page is one of the big factors Google and other search engines use to determine the quality of your ad. So, if you’re directing a paid search ad to one of your new HubSpot landing pages, you’ll be happy to know that HubSpot makes on-page SEO a breeze.

Custom URL

Easily create a custom URL for your landing page. While any landing page’s URL will default to whatever your page title is, HubSpot makes it easy to change your URL to a more custom option.

This is great when you’re trying to get a particular keyword in there or shorten the URL up so it’s easy to for potential leads to remember or share on social media.  

Meta Description

It’s easy to forget about a meta description when you’re developing landing pages. Since they don’t hold a lot of content, they don’t jump out as an SEO ranking opportunity.

But, writing a quality meta description that tells both visitors and search engines what your landing page is about can be that extra step that sets you apart from the competition.

HubSpot’s landing page builder has an easily accessible meta description field that allows you to write and save a custom meta description to fit your new landing page, so you reap all the potential SEO benefits. 

Quick, Intuitive Layout with HubSpot Templates

Of course, we couldn’t talk about building better landing pages with HubSpot without talking about their handy, fast design features. Whether you’re not comfy as a web designer in your own right, or your in-house designer just doesn’t have time to crank something out every time you need a new landing page, you really don’t have to worry when you’re using the HubSpot landing page tool.

HubSpot offers a variety of landing page templates, or, your in-house designer can develop one or two landing page templates, and you can build out unique landing pages from each of those templates. Either way, you benefit from a beautiful, high-quality design that puts your offer front-and-center, without taking up your entire day.

Simply choose the template that best fits your landing page, and make sure it has those critical four elements we talked about earlier:

  • Title
  • Copy
  • Image
  • Form

Setting up a landing page is as easy as choosing a template, filling in your information, and hitting the publish button.

Simple Drag and Drop Design

Last but not least, we just couldn’t leave this blog alone without mentioning HubSpot’s easy drag and drop landing page builder. While it might not sound like a huge feature, the amount of time it will save you makes it worth mentioning.

When you build your landing page in HubSpot, you can easily add and move around modules on your landing page with a simple drag and drop. Each module will snap into place on your template, making for a flawless design in a fraction of the time it would take you to manually build a page. Whether you’re adding fields to a form, reformatting your landing page’s imagery, or working to get that headline just right, HubSpot’s tools make it easy to develop an intuitive landing page in just a few minutes. 

And that’s our spiel on HubSpot landing pages! If you’re looking for a landing page builder that offers fast, intuitive design, reporting and seamless connectivity for your existing digital marketing strategy, you really can’t beat HubSpot. 

Their landing pages are fast and fun, and you really won’t find better data reporting with any other tool. Combine that with the fact that you can easily connect any HubSpot landing page with an existing campaign, automated workflow, or follow-up email campaign, and you’ve got a robust tool that can help you get way more out of your landing pages.

Not sure if HubSpot’s right for you? No worries. Evenbound is a HubSpot Gold Agency Partner, and we’d be happy to show you the ropes. Get in touch with our team for a quick run-through of HubSpot’s tools, and an honest consultation about whether the platform is right for your company.

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Lead Generation Tips and Tricks for SMBs

Lead Generation Tips and Tricks for SMBs

Mackenzie

Everybody is looking for new leads, but sometimes it seems like there are only a few ways to draw them in, and for SMBs with smaller budgets and specific locations, lead generation can be tiresome work. If you’re looking for great ways to jumpstart lead generation for your SMB, you’re in the right spot. Let’s talk about a few lead generation tips and tricks for SMBs that will actually work.
We’re going to start by first looking at how you convert leads. When it comes to any business — small, mid-sized, and even huge corporate companies — there are really only three key ways to convert leads through digital marketing:
  • Content offers
  • Calls-to-action
  • Landing pages

If you’re in the digital marketing game, you probably have all three of these tools, and you’re probably using them to convert your leads as often as you can.

But, while content offers, calls-to-action, and landing pages convert leads, the rest of your digital marketing strategy does the actual work of guiding the right potential leads towards those conversion opportunities.

You can have all the landing pages and content offers you want, but if you don't have any traffic coming to your site, you're not going to see the lead generation you're looking for. Click To Tweet

For SMBs, this aspect of lead generation is quite possibly the toughest. You can have picture-perfect conversion opportunities, but if you don’t have the traffic, you’re not going to see results.

And drawing in a ton of qualified traffic can be easier said than done. Not only are you competing with other local SMBs in your industry, you likely also have to go up against corporate giants who have more manpower and budget than you. This is where strategic digital marketing comes in. 

via GIPHY

We’re going to break down 8 lead generation tips and tricks for SMBs, that will help your small-to-midsized business stand out from larger competition and draw in the leads that will help your company grow. It all starts with your target buyer.

#1 Identify Your Target Buyer

The first and best way to make sure you’re generating only the leads you want, and none of the leads you don’t, is to identify who you want to sell to.

Odds are, your product isn’t for everyone. There is a specific industry, a key job title, or type of person your product or service is right for. Where do they live? What do they want? What do they do?

Understanding your target buyer through and through will help you implement lead generation tactics that are accurate and specific. And the more accurate your targeting, the less you’ll spend to get the best results.

 

via GIPHY

#2 Leverage Social Media

One key lead generation tip every SMB should take advantage of is social media. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a mid-sized manufacturer or a small local lumber supplier, social media is an inexpensive way to build awareness throughout your community. 

We’ve provided a ton of resources about how SMBs can get ahead on a variety of social media channels, (see this blog, this blog, and this article about Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising) but at the very least it’s worth it to create accounts on platforms like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Start with one, if your company doesn’t have any yet, and build from there. 

We recommend starting with Facebook and LinkedIn if you’re planning to do any social media advertising. Both of these platforms make advertising easy, and they have powerful targeting abilities that can help you create effective ad campaigns, without spending more of your budget than you’d like. 

#4 Create Targeted Content

Today’s consumer wants content that is specific to their concerns. The best way to boost lead generation for the leads you actually want is to create content that is very targeted. General solutions aren’t going to help those potential leads. 

A lot of times we’ll hear from clients, “well, we don’t want to give all of that information away because [insert reason here: you don’t want your competition to know, you don’t want clients to solve their problems, you’re afraid if you give information away, they won’t call your sales team, etc.].”

The fact is that if you’re not educating your potential leads with content that truly answers their questions and solves their problems, you’re not going to get any leads. 

Today’s consumer will not contact a salesperson until they’re 80% of the way through the buyers cycle. Until then, they want to find the information that answers their questions and empowers them to make an educated decision about why your product is their best option. 

When you’re creating that content, your company will be the first your ideal consumer contacts when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision.

#5 Focus on Quality over Quantity

If lead generation is your SMB’s goal, quality should always be your priority. You can write a million short blog posts and not see a single leads from all of your posts. You can also write a million general blog posts and end up with a million leads, but none of whom are good sales fits for your company. 

If you want to generate quality leads, you need to generate quality content. 

Consumers can spot an unhelpful, keyword-stuffed, general blog post from a mile a way. They can also pick out a quality blog post, just as easily. 

If you’re creating content that’s focused on keywords, but doesn’t really say anything, you’re not going to see the lead generation you want. Why?

Because content creation is about more than lead generation. It’s also about setting yourself up as an authority in your industry. 

When you’re putting out the best, quality, in-depth content in the industry, people are going to start looking to you for answers. When people look to you for answers they can trust, they’re also going to look for you when they decide they need your product or service. 

When you create quality content, you boost your SMB’s lead generation capabilities threefold. 

  • You are able to draw in quality leads with great content that ranks well.
  • You set yourself up as an authority in the industry. More consumers turn to your SMB when they have questions about the product or service you offer.
  • You boost your company’s awareness. As an authority in the industry, who is providing quality content, more people are going to refer potential leads to you, and more potential leads are going to turn to your company, just because they’ve heard your company name around.

In the end, quality content keeps delivering quality leads. The more great content you put out, the more qualified leads you’ll generate in the long run. A great content creation strategy works like a snowball effect — the more great content you put out, the more qualified leads and brand awareness you generate. The more leads and awareness you have, the more authority you build. 

#6 Always Include a CTA

If there was a golden rule of lead generation, “always include a CTA” would be it.  

Why? Because a CTA gives you the chance to convert a lead. And worst-case scenario, the lead doesn’t click on it. You have nothing to lose by including a few relevant CTAs with every blog post, whitepaper, or helpful article you put into the world. 

Your calls to action should always provide something useful to your readers, like more information about the topic they were just learning about, or a free consultation or audit of their company. 

#7 Give Things Away. For Free

Gated content still has its place in the digital marketing world, but it’s not the end-all-be-all way to generate leads. In fact, more customers prefer companies who are offering up the content they want, with no strings attached. 

A new popular lead generation trend is to develop long-form, ungated content. Then, instead of putting the gate on your content on the site, you offer a PDF version of that long-form content, so people can take it home with them and read it at their leisure. 

This is a really great tactic to get you contact information for just the leads who are really interested in what you have to say or sell. While a lot of unqualified leads might give up their email to download a gated content offer, only the leads who are genuinely interested in your content are going to download the PDF and take it home with them. 

#8 Track Your Leads

This is the last tip we’re going to cover, and while tracking your leads doesn’t necessarily help you generate leads, it is an important point to end on.

All of the work you’re putting into lead generation is real, and it’s going to deliver you results. The worst thing to happen is to get all of those amazing leads, and then not have anywhere to organize them and keep track of them. 

We understand that SMBs don’t always have the budget to invest in an expensive CRM, but there are a lot of free CRM options that will help you keep track of the leads that are coming into your website, and that stick around to learn more. Our personal favorite is HubSpot, of course, but do some searching around to find an option that’s right for your company. 

Lead generation for SMBs can take a bit of strategy, but it doesn’t have to blow your budget.

When you approach lead generation with a clear picture of the leads you actually want, and who are likely to purchase your product or service, you’ll be able to put your effort towards just the tactics that will draw those ideal clients in. Strategic digital marketing is the best way to get the local leads you want, at a price that makes sense for your company. 

Looking for a little more help? These blogs have answers:

We can help too. Get in touch with the Evenbound team to chat about your lead generation strategy. And for more information about how we generate leads for SMBs, be sure to check out the case study below:

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