Website Design Best Practices For Manufacturers

Website Design Best Practices For Manufacturers

Website Design Best Practices For Manufacturers

Pretty is as Pretty Does: Great Website Design is More Than Just Beautiful

It sounds like an old line (and it might be) but it’s true. A beautiful website might impress all who gaze upon it, but it’s not bringing you new visitors or leads to look at your manufacturing company’s website. 

We’ve written a lot about why you shouldn’t just waste money on another website redesign, and about what makes a great website, but today, we want to talk about a few website design best practices for manufacturers. 

CTA-Brutally-Honest-Website-Checklist-[button-02]

These best practices focus on what makes for great design, but also, what design elements can make your manufacturing website work for you by drawing in qualified traffic and converting leads. 

If you’re a manufacturer planning a new website or a website redesign, here are a few best practices and key website elements to make sure are included in your new site:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

We have written magnum opuses on website SEO for manufacturers, and so have a million other digital marketing experts (see here and Moz, for a complete beginner’s guide to SEO), so we won’t belabor this point. 

We will say that if you want your website to generate leads, you need to implement SEO tactics. Search engine optimization is absolutely necessary if you want to rank well, rank ahead of your competition, or generate digital leads. A couple of web design best practices to keep in mind regarding SEO include:

  • Pick Keywords and Key Topics – Figure out what you want to rank for (we suggest keywords relevant to your company that have a high search volume and low competition) and make sure your website is built out to match those keywords and topics. 
  • Check on Site SpeedIf your site isn’t speedy, people will ditch. Use Google’s PageSpeed Tool to see how you’re doing, and to get recommendations on how you can improve. 
  • Eliminate Duplicate ContentThis is a tough one for manufacturers because you tend to have technical content, manufacturer descriptions, and product guides that a ton of people copy and use. Do what you can to make sure that the content on your site is original, and you’ll see better performance. 
  • Pay Attention to Meta Data – Title tags, meta descriptions, image alt text, and other little technical updates can go a long way to improve your search engine performance. If you don’t know what these are, check out this guide to SEO Meta Tags, and get to work!

 

We’re not spending a ton of time here because there’s a lot of info out there about SEO, and also because it’s not strictly a website design best practice. That said, if you want to see eyeballs on your site, it’s worth it to invest in some quality SEO updates. 

Intelligent Design From Your Logo to Landing Pages

What do I mean by intelligent design? 

I mean solid, clear branding, and a design that funnels visitors through the buyer’s journey. 

Wait, design does that?

Yep. We’ve talked about it before in our blog about website design elements that boost conversions

A quality design and intuitive color palette works to draw your customers’ eyes where you want them.

It also solidifies your brand in the mind of your leads — an important characteristic for manufacturers, where you’re typically competing with just a few key brands. If your is the most recognizable, buyers are likely to keep you in mind when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision.

A few intelligent website design best practices to keep in mind include:  

  • Keep your branding consistent. Your logo should always look the same. Use the same color palette, font, and general design guidelines across every platform. 
  • White space is your friend. It’s easy for manufacturing websites to become overrun with text and highly technical content. It’s okay to have a decent amount of content but use white space to break it up. Letting your website breathe will go a long way to make visitors feel more comfortable, and less overwhelmed on your site. 

  • Use strong elements sparingly, and with intention. It’s great to have a few bold colors in your color palette, but be sure you’re using them sparingly. On any given page, you shouldn’t be trying to pull your visitor’s eyes in more than one or two key directions. Calls to action and chatbots are two great examples.

A little bit of intuitive design can go a long way. When your design is consistent across platforms, you’ll start to build that brand awareness that’s so important in manufacturing industries.

When you use intelligent design on your website, you’ll highlight call-to-action buttons and forms on landing pages, helping those potential leads convert that much faster. 

Eye- Catching CTAs

This goes to our point about intelligent design. A well-designed website with a consistent, smart color palette can do a lot to pull the eyes of your leads and visitors to the information that’s most important to you. 

When it comes to a manufacturing website, conversions are everything. 

There’s only so much technical information you can put out there before your leads are going to need personal one-on-one help from your marketing or sales team. 

CTAs, or calls-to-action, are what work to convert those visitors into leads. 

By designing calls-to-action that are bright, bold, and eye-catching, you can ensure that whenever your visitors have a question, there’s a CTA opportunity for them to reach out. 

The key to lead generation is providing the right content, to the right person, at the right time. Click To Tweet

You’ve already got two out of three — someone who cares about what you have to say is on your site (they’re the right person). If they’re there for any length of time, that means they’ve found some sort of content they care about (the right content). 

Your CTA delivers that third component — the right time.  

If that lead has a question about what they’re reading, or better yet, has decided they want to talk to a salesperson, a well-placed and well-designed CTA will catch their eye. 

This is exactly the right time to convert that lead, and your CTA is clearly visible and ready to help them out. 

This is one of the reasons it’s so important not to discount design when you’re developing or redesigning a website. If your CTAs are easy to see and navigate to, you’ll see conversions off of pages that offer the right content. If they’re poorly designed or hidden on your page, you’re missing out on qualified leads. 

Strategic Navigation

Manufacturers are notorious for crazy navigation menus. And we get it — you’ve got a lot of products, case studies, brochures, and materials for people to look at. That’s all awesome content, and you do want people to see it. 

It just doesn’t all have to be in your top menu. 

When a visitor shows up to your site and they see a menu with 15 different options, it’s overwhelming. It’s tough to find what they’re looking for, and it might even turn them away. 

Implementing strategic navigation is a website design best practice that works to funnel site visitors exactly where you want them. Work to narrow your navigation or menu bar down to just four or five options, and a contact button. 

And honestly, the simpler the better. “Products”, “Solutions”, “About Us” and your traditional standbys are all great for your top-menu navigation because they’re what your visitors expect. Navigation isn’t the place to reinvent the wheel. 

And if you have more stuff than what fits in your new, strategic navigation bar? Don’t forget the footer! Your website footer is a great place to add a few extra links if you really need them. 

Responsive Design

One key website design best practice that manufacturers can’t overlook is a responsive design. The goal of your website is to draw in qualified leads, right? 

It’ll have a hard time doing it if it’s not designed to meet visitors where they’re at. 

Mobile devices account for more than half of all internet traffic. 

What does that mean for your manufacturing website?

It has to be responsive.

Visitors will navigate away from a website that doesn’t meet their device. What’s more, you’ll lose in search engine rankings without a responsive site. 

Websites that are not responsive rank much lower on search engines than websites that do. This is a problem in two ways:

  1. You won’t get much traffic (read: qualified leads) to your website
  2. Your competitors will outrank you

As we’ve mentioned before, most manufacturing industries are pretty competitive. Even if your competitor’s website isn’t that great, they’re going to rank higher if theirs is responsive, and yours is not. 

In an industry where exposure and reputation really matter, this is an issue, and it’s one that’s pretty easily solved. 

Designing your website on a responsive theme can provide huge dividends, both in your company’s authority, and in the qualified traffic you’re able to draw in. 

Content That Speaks to Your Ideal Buyer

Manufacturers are great at technical content. Your sales team probably has stacks or digital files full of product brochures that run through the specs of any product or part you sell.

The problem with that content is that it’s not always digestible, and it’s also not always the content your buyers want. 

Depending on where your leads are in the buyer’s journey, a product guide might not answer the questions they have about your product. It’s important to develop content that speaks directly to the questions and concerns your ideal buyer has. 

Not sure who your ideal buyer is? We’ve got a Step-By-Step Guide to Defining Your Buyer Persona here to help you out. 

Yes, sometimes that means technical content, but it also means developing content that builds your authority. Content that shows your visitors and potential buyers that you have the best, most helpful information, and are an authority in the industry is what will help you build positive relationships that close sales. 

Think about what would be helpful to you if you were in your ideal buyer’s shoes

Is is it a guide that helps them figure out which of your products is best for them? Maybe it’s a simple glossary of the technical terms they’ll need to know. 

Whatever it is, take some time to build out a bit of quality content that is genuinely helpful. 

The more answers your ideal leads can find on your website, the more often they’ll come back, and the more likely they are to purchase from you when they’re ready to make a decision.

Intuitive Content Layout

Great content is one key to a great manufacturing website, but an intuitive content layout is the website design best practice that will ensure your leads are reading that great content. 

Today’s internet user is not a hard-core reader. No one, not even content strategists like me, read every word in every blog post, case study, or article. 

What they do is skim. 

If your web design strategy includes a content layout that calls attention to the most important parts of your blogs and guides, you can guarantee those leads are reading the information that you know is most important to them. 

A great content layout is the difference between someone glancing at your blog and navigating away and someone filling out a conversion form that turns them into a lead. 

Develop a content layout with lots of whitespace, regular images, media, and headers to break up large blocks of text. 

This will help ensure your site visitors are reading as much of your content as possible. The more they read, the more likely they are to stick to your site, and keep coming back. 

Not sure what great content layout looks like? Take a look at our pillar page for Website Design. There’s a ton of content on this page, but because we’ve got an awesome lead designer, Laura, none of it feels overwhelming. 

You get one little bite-sized piece of content at a time, along with some cool motion and visuals. This encourages you to keep reading — who doesn’t have time for one more little sentence? 

In that way, our pillar pages are working to keep visitors on the page with a killer content layout. 

Motion, Interactivity, and Video

Jumping off the last point: motion, interactivity, and especially video are key web design elements for any manufacturing website. 

You’ve got a facility, right? A plant, a factory, a shop? 

Whatever you call it, you make things. Chances are you’ve got some cool machines and some cool people working for you. Take a video of them, and include it in your web design! 

Video is quickly becoming one of the top web design best practices for any industry, but it’s especially effective for manufacturers because you have things going on. 

What’s more, it’s probably ten times easier to explain your product in a video than it is in a lengthy brochure. 

Video — along with interactivity and motion on your site — works to keep people on your website. 

And, as we’ve mentioned before, the longer someone is on your site, the more likely they are to convert. 

For manufacturers, yes, cool scrolling headers and a bit of motion on the page are great, but we really can’t stress video enough. 

We’ve worked with many B2B manufacturers, and video always works to boost conversions. 

People love to see how things work, and if they can watch a 30-second video over reading a product brochure, they're going to do it every time. Click To Tweet 

If you’re the one with the 30-second video on your site, you’re going to be the one to get the lead. 

Interactive Chatbots

Most B2B manufacturers serve a highly technical industry. 

Whether your site visitors are looking for the right product for their application, or aren’t sure which parts they need for their particular machine, chatbots are a great way to ensure your company is always available to answer those questions, whenever they come up. 

Chatbots can be set to specific product pages and customized in a million different ways to fit your manufacturing company’s needs. 

Are there questions you get all the time about your product line that can be answered easily? Do you have a helpful guide or content that solves some of those questions?

You can set a chatbot up to address any of these problems. Not only does this help you convert leads, but it frees up both your sales and marketing teams from answering simple questions over and over. 

Website Design Best Practices for Manufacturers

Web design isn’t always easy for manufacturers. If you’re new to the process, it can be tough to marry highly technical products and components with a creative, intuitive design that also works to draw in and convert leads. Implementing some of these website design best practices should help. 

Not sure where to start? We get it. Form and function aren’t always easy to put together. We’ve been designing websites that work for manufacturers for decades. If you’re ready for a website that delivers qualified leads directly to your sales team, we’re ready to help.

New call-to-action
New call-to-action

7 Work from Home Tips from a Remote Worker

7 Work from Home Tips from a Remote Worker

7 Work from Home Tips from a Remote Worker

Working from home has become the new normal in today’s current landscape. For some of us, this is nothing new. For others, it’s surprising how different working from home actually is. 

It’s a challenge. I get it. And it’s also not for everyone. 

New call-to-action

I’ve been working remotely for Evenbound for about four years now, full time for a little over a year and a half. And let me tell you, there’s a big ole learning curve. 

Many people say, “Oh, you work from home! How do I get into that? It must be so great!”

And really, it is. I’m an introvert and a writer, so working from home is genuinely what I need to get a majority of my work done. But it’s not always the easy breezy life that a lot of people make it out to be. 

(Props to Medium for this very accurate meme, and their awesome post on the realities of working from home.)

If you’re struggling a bit with the recent transition to work entirely from home, 100% of the time, I got you. And I’m here to offer some of the work from home tips that have worked for me. Seven, to be exact:

#1 Create a Dedicated Work From Home Space

This is one of the few work from home “rules” I actually subscribe to. 

It’s important to create a workspace in your home for a couple of reasons.

The one you’ll hear most often is that having a dedicated “work” space helps you turn on your “work” brain. 

That’s definitely true, but it’s also important to have a work space so that your brain knows how to turn off when your day is over. 

One of the toughest transitions you’ll face working from home is that your work is literally at your home. You’re always around it, and it’s always there. Creating a physical space where work happens helps your brain distinguish between that “on” time and the “off” time. 

#2 Build a Routine that Works for You

I am not here to tell anyone how they work best. You know what your best times of the day are, and you know what you have to get done. Set up a routine that helps you work most effectively. 

Identify Your Most Productive Hours

Everyone has a most productive part of the day. 

For me, this is generally the morning, but after I’ve made time for a quality, sit-down breakfast and a half-hour of reading. 

That time to wake up, read some quality content that has absolutely nothing to do with work, and guzzle down a (read: three) cup(s) of coffee, gets me in the right mindset to get my work done. 

Then, I tackle my hardest, most involved tasks in the morning, because that’s when my brain is at its best. 

This might not be your routine. You might be a night owl, or find a certain groove after lunch. Whatever it is, figure out when you’re most productive, and try to schedule your routine around those hours. 

Keep Your Coworker’s Hours in Mind, Too

Building a productive routine means incorporating the rest of your team’s schedule, too. It’s easy for me to say, “My most productive time is around 7am, so I’ll just work from 7am to 3pm, and be done for the day.”

But if my coworkers are working until 5pm, and need things from me, I’m going to be a) gone or b) mentally fried.

None of us exist in a vacuum. Most of us are working with other team members, who need things from us or who need to meet with us. You want to build a routine that helps you be your most productive, but you can’t do it at the expense of teamwork. 

Make sure you’re building a routine that makes space for the rest of your team, and you’ll be more likely to stick to it. 

#3 Don’t Dress for Work (Or Do, I Guess)

“Get dressed for work” is my number one most despised work from home tip on the face of the planet. 

I do best when I get straight to work. Worrying about what outfit to put together only takes time out of my most productive hours, and I’ve never found that I work better in an uncomfortable outfit vs. my pajamas. 

If you find that getting dressed does make a big difference for you mentally, that’s awesome. 

I’m just putting this one out there for everyone else like me who feels like getting dressed to work in front of a computer and see no one is a lot of work. 

I think for most of us, preparing for the day is what really matters. And this goes back to setting up a routine that works for you. 

Taking the time to make and eat breakfast or taking a shower can do as much to shift your mentality into work mode as getting dressed can. So figure out what your “turn my brain on” switch is, and stick with that. Maybe it’s getting dressed, maybe it’s not. 

#4 Take Breaks, When Breaks Work For You

Many other work from home blogs have touted the importance of taking breaks, and taking full, complete breaks. 

I say, do what works for you. 

Personally, I have a tough time getting back into a groove after a full lunch break. If I get into another project, a book, or a TV show on a lunch break, I come back feeling sluggish and not engaged. I do my best when I take quick 5-10 minute breaks to make tea, brew coffee, check the mail, and just eat my lunch. 

Then, when I’m done with work, I’m straight up done. I can let my brain go off and do what it wants. 

Again, this is what works for me. Some people might do better with one solid hour-long lunch break, or a couple of half-hour pauses for different things. 

I think it largely depends on your job. I write best when I have long, consecutive hours of uninterrupted time to write.

If you’re constantly slammed with emails, phone calls, and meetings, an hour long break might be just what you need to decompress and come back to work relaxed. 

Find what works best for you, and stick to it. 

#5 Over Communicate

This is a weird time for everyone. There’s a lot of grief, there’s a lot of uncertainty, and there’s just a lot going on. 

One of the best work from home tips I can offer to make sure that you and your coworkers are all getting as much done as you can is to over communicate. 

Over communicate with your coworkers and your clients alike. 

If you can schedule a quick video call or jump on the phone with teammates, even better. 

It’s easy to lose sight of the team goals when you’re working from home, alone. You’re in isolation, trying to slog through your list of things by yourself. 

Connecting with your teammates can help you feel less isolated, and it has the added benefit of ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. 

Here at Evenbound, we use Slack religiously, and it’s been instrumental as our entire team shifted to remote work during this crisis.

Features like Slack calling, video, and screensharing are super useful, making it easy to get a point across without having to send a million emails. 

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call someone.

As we all get more used to working at home, alone, it can feel a little weird (okay, sometimes scary) to talk to a person on a phone

But you can actually get a whole lot more done in a five minute call than you could in a messy, complicated email chain. 

#6 Shut the Door

When you’re done with work, shut the door. 

You have set up a separate work space, haven’t you? 

Whether it’s a guest room, an office, or a closet, flip your laptop closed, physically shut the door, and walk out. 

Like I mentioned in Step #1, one of the toughest parts of transitioning to working from home is that your work is always there. If you’re not careful, it can bleed into every part of your life, which ultimately makes you less productive. 

I like to add onto the “Shut the Door” policy with another activity that really signals to my brain that it’s the end of the day. I might turn on a workout video, take the dog for a walk, or start cooking dinner, just to add another level of separation between me and my computer. 

Because, honestly, it’s so easy to get sucked back into “oh, just one more thing.” 

The better you are at creating and establishing boundaries for your off times, the more productive you’re likely to be in your on times. 

#7 Give Yourself Some Grace

Working from home is not as easy and delightful as some will have you believe. 

Yes, it is pretty cool, and yeah the commute is exceptional. 

But it’s not all sunshine and roses, especially now, when most of us can’t really leave our homes when the work day is done. 

One of the most important things to remember when you start working from home is to give yourself some grace. 

Not every day is going to be perfect. Some days you might take an actual lunch break, only to find that you’re totally worthless afterwards. 

Remember that you’re doing your best, and that tomorrow’s another day. And remember that you’re still probably working more now than you were in the office. Without any drive time or water cooler talk, you’re likely still coming out ahead, even on your least productive days. 

Working from home is a big transition, and no one is perfect at anything the first time. Just observe the areas where you’re struggling, and work to make a plan to improve tomorrow. 

Working from home has its challenges, but the team here at Evenbound is grateful to have this ability. If we weren’t able to work from home, we wouldn’t be doing business. While we’re all adjusting, we’re thankful for our health and the opportunity to serve our clients from just about anywhere.

If you’ve got questions about working from home, marketing from home, or anything else, just let us know. We’re here to help

New call-to-action
New call-to-action

What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?

What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?

What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?

Evenbound-Dec-2019-123
I write blogs for businesses every day. It’s like, my job, man. 

But I can’t even begin to count the number of times people have asked me what the purpose of business blogging is. 

Inbound marketing has been around for years now, but it’s still a question for many people: why do we do it? What is the purpose of business blogging? 

Someone asked me about it the other day, and I thought, “Oh sure, let me just point them to the NUMBER of blogs I’ve written about business blogging.”

Only to find that well, I haven’t written any blogs about this. I’ve talked about blogging in the context of lead generation, website design, inbound marketing, lead nurturing, and so much more. But I’ve never actually written about why business blogging is so important in its own right, and why it’s a service we provide to nearly every single one of our clients. 
My bad, guys. Big hole in the content there. But I’m here to make it right. 

Let’s talk about what business blogging is, why we do it, and why for heaven’s sake I just need you to believe me when I say it’s worth it.

What is Business Blogging?

Business blogging is the process of blogging for your business. It’s an inbound marketing tactic that works to get your website more visibility. Just like social media, email marketing, and even digital ads, business blogging is another tactic used to get your company in front of the eyes of qualified leads. 

What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?

The purpose of business blogging is to get you and your company in front of the right leads. In the words of our fearless leader here at Evenbound:
“Content publishing is the lifeblood of SEO. Regular content updates (written around your target keywords) build topical relevance and authority. If you’re not writing blogs and your competition is, you’re gonna get smoked in SERPs.”

John Heritage  President, Evenbound

So you want to get found on the internet? 

You want to show up first when someone googles something you do or a product you provide?

You want to beat the competition?

Well then, business blogging is the tool for you.

3 Key Benefits of Business Blogging

Okay, so business blogging helps you get in front of the competition. But how? 

Don’t worry, I wasn’t just going to tell you something and not back it up. 

Like I said earlier, business blogging is a key marketing tactic. It does more than just help you rank well. When you do business blogging right, it can help you convert more leads through every stage of the buyer’s journey.

If you’re familiar with the inbound marketing flywheel, business blogging is one of those tactics you can use to optimize every point on that flywheel, helping you draw in more traffic, nurture those new leads, close on new prospects, and continue to delight your promoters and existing customers. 

Here’s a look at three of the key benefits of business blogging.

Drives Qualified Organic Traffic

First and foremost, business blogging helps you get eyeballs on your website. How else are people going to find you? Let’s think here:
No one is going to type in your website URL and go directly to your site. It doesn’t happen. When have you actually typed in “www.evenbound.com/blog” to see what’s new on our blog? Imma say never. I don’t even do that, and I live on our blog. 
Paid ads are expensive. Sure, you can get in front of the right people using paid advertising. We encourage it. But, it shouldn’t be your only tactic to drive traffic. Mostly because it’s expensive. You should be using marketing strategies tactically. That means only spend where you’re going to see big returns. For everything else, business blogging is your golden ticket to more, better traffic. 
Buying email lists is illegal. Just don’t do it. Aside from being illegal, cold-emailing random people doesn’t return great results. Again, we’re talking about tactical solutions. You can spend a whole lot on an email list that might return a few leads.
The key to business blogging that drives qualified traffic is keyword research. 
Since this isn’t a blog about keyword research, I’m not going to go all the way into it, but I will leave you with a few keyword research resources here and here.

Essentially, it should be your goal to write blogs that:

  • Are relevant to your business
  • Solve a common problem or pain point your target buyer faces
  • Are centered around a keyword or phrase with high search volume and low competition

That’s the sweet spot for a blog that will rank well, and that will pull in the leads you actually want. Once you do your keyword research, the real challenge is putting out quality content that’s in-depth, and that answers those questions your target buyers are asking. 

But, if you can do all of this, and regularly, you’ll start drawing in serious qualified traffic. The more you blog, and the more consistently, the better results you’ll see. 
That said, I know how hard it is to stick to a regular schedule. If you can work to put out a quality blog even once every two weeks, you should start to see your organic traffic start to rise. 

Business Blogging Builds Authority and Topical Relevance

Okay, stick with me. Authority and topical relevance are both big industry terms, and if your eyes are starting to glaze over, I get it. 
One of the key ways Google ranks websites is according to their authority. 
You build authority in a few ways, but content publishing and link building are the two biggies. (Here’s some info on link building and authority. Here’s some info from MOZ on link building and relevance. And here’s some info on link building itself.)
Content publishing, aka business blogging, is the other key factor that search engines use to determine your authority. And the more authority you have on a given topic, the higher you’re likely to rank. 
Let’s think of it this way:

You’re cooking a steak, and you want tips on the best way to do it. Which YouTube video do you choose? 

 

  • One published by Chef Gordon Ramsay
  • One published by your friend from high school
If you’re like me, you’re probably going to refer to the Gordon Ramsay video. 

Why?

He has authority on the subject. 

As a well-known chef with a body of work on things like grilling and cooking steaks, he’s built authority on the topic. 

That brings me right to topical relevance, which is similar to authority. 

The more quality content you have on a topic, the more topical relevance you have. 

Sticking with our Gordon Ramsay reference, let’s say the topic is cooking steak. 

If you have a blog on each of these topics:

  • How to Grill Steak
  • Step-By-Step Guide to Prepping Your Steak
  • How Long Should Your Steak Rest Before Serving?
  • How to Pan-Fry Steak
  • Which Cut of Steak is Best?

Then you have serious topical relevance. 

Google will always rank the website with the most topical relevance highest on its results pages. That’s why business blogging is so important. 

Though you can’t build authority or topical relevance overnight, steady, consistent posting of strategic content centered around one topic is one of the best ways to get there.

When you have more authority and topical relevance than your competition, you’re going to be the one clients look to first for answers to their questions. 
And that spells serious business growth for you. 

Your Business Blog is a Lead Generation Machine That’s Always On

Okay. So far we’ve learned that business blogging can help you pull in qualified traffic and beat your competition in rankings (drawing in even more traffic). Business blogging still has one exceptional benefit left. 
Your business blog is a lead generation machine that’s always on. 
If you develop it right and optimize it with lead capturing tools like calls-to-action and content offers, your business blog can capture leads every single day of the week, at any hour.
Once you publish a blog, it goes out into the world. You might (read: absolutely definitely should) promote that blog on your social media and through your email marketing campaigns. But after the newness wears off, that blog is still working for you (given that you’ve written a quality blog). 
The key to this benefit is making sure that you have content on your blog that addresses every stage of the buyer’s journey
When someone starts their journey, and queries your topic on Google, they’re met with your blog. They come on over for answers to whatever question they typed into Google. But, if you’ve got content for every stage of the buyer’s journey, and you make it easy for that new visitor to find, you’re not just generating leads, you’re also nurturing them. 
An optimized blog can nurture a new lead all the way through their buyer's journey, providing them with the right information, at the right time. Click To Tweet If that lead keeps coming back for information on your site when they’re finally ready to buy, guess who they’re going to call?
Yep, you. 
You’ve not only built authority on search engines, but you’ve built trust with the leads who read your business blog. By delivering them quality content that answers their questions, consistently, you’ve earned their trust and now you’re their first point of contact when they get ready to make a decision. 
And I think the best part of all of this is that you didn’t have to lift a finger. 
Since you’ve developed a solid business blog where all of this content already exists, your blog is the one doing the work 24/7, anytime a day. 

Business Blogging Gets You the Online Visibility You Need

If I had to sum up the purpose of business blogging in one sentence, I’d say it gets you the online visibility you need. 
Let’s be real. If you’re not on the internet these days, it’s going to be tough to get any kind of lead that’s not a referral. And even the ones that are referrals. If you’re not on the internet, you don’t exist. 
Blogging is one of those tactics that’s easier said than done. Trust me, I get it. If you’re having trouble coming up with topics, sticking to a consistent schedule, or converting leads from your blog, the Evenbound team is here to help. We’d be happy to set up a quick consultation to help you figure out what you’re doing right, and where you might be able to improve. 
If you’re still skeptical about the benefits of business blogging, may I direct your attention to the case study below? This is a great example of how consistent blogging with helped one of our clients make first page of Google and continue growing their business, even four years into our partnership. 
New call-to-action
New call-to-action

What is Sales Enablement, And What Tactics Can You Implement Today?

What is Sales Enablement, And What Tactics Can You Implement Today?

What is Sales Enablement, And What Tactics Can You Implement Today?

Evenbound-2019-582

What is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is the process of empowering sales teams to sell more efficiently at a higher success rate. This process is supported with technology, tools, and content that works to shorten the sales cycle. It’s become so effective and popular that it’s now offered as a HubSpot service by digital marketing agencies and growth experts alike. 

In plain English, when we talk about sales enablement, we’re talking about giving your sales teams more training and better tools to sell better and faster. 

New call-to-action

Why Should You Care About Sales Enablement?

Inbound marketing really took off in the early 2000s. The idea was to market to customers, rather than at them by pulling them into the marketing and sales funnel with content and service that genuinely answered their questions and solved their pain points. 

The problem is that until now, the majority of this focus has been placed on marketing. If your company is using inbound marketing tactics, but hasn’t applied the inbound methodology to your sales process, your leads and customers are being met with a discord, likely causing some of them to drop out of the sales funnel. 

Think about it this way — your marketing team is functioning on a pull methodology — pulling leads into your sales funnel. Your sales team, on the other hand, is still functioning with a push methodology — pushing products and services at those customers until something sticks. 

Sales enablement is the solution to this shift. 

By offering your sales team the training, tools, and technology they need to continue offering a genuine, inbound sales experience to those prospects, you not only retain those prospects in your sales funnel, but you shorten the length of that sales cycle.

Sales Enablement Tactics You Can Use Today

Okay, so sales enablement can help shorten your sales cycle. Sounds great, right? But how, exactly, does it do that?

Let’s show you. 

Here are a few of the tactics we’re talking about, so you can see exactly how sales enablement tactics work to increase revenue and shorten your sales cycle. 

New call-to-action

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a successful marketing tactic, but it works for more than just your marketing department. An important component of sales enablement is developing content that can help your sales department nurture their prospects closer to making a deal. Not sure what we’re talking about? Here are a few examples of content marketing that helps enable your sales team:

Case Studies

For prospects in nearly any stage of your sales funnel, a case study can be exceptionally useful. Case studies show those prospects exactly what you’ve done in the past for clients just like them, helping them imagine how their services can help you too. 

Pricing Information

For many of our clients, pricing tends to be one of the biggest qualifiers for their sales prospects. If you’re finding that too many of your prospects are dropping out of the sales cycle the minute they see your prices, stop making your prices a surprise.

Package your pricing information into a nice, downloadable PDF or content offer, and let prospects find it on their own. Click To Tweet

Once they download your pricing information, your sales team can reach out and ask if they have any questions, but they’re not wasting their time on leads who don’t have the funds to invest in your products or services. 

Whitepapers

Your sales team fields questions about your product or service all day.

  • Will this really work?
  • Is this product the right fit for my company?
  • How do I know which of your products is right for me?

Take those questions, and turn the answers into whitepapers. Not only will you have developed a piece of content that makes your sales team’s life a little easier, but you’ll  have a content offer that’s attractive to those prospects. If you’re giving those answers out freely, those prospects are likely to turn back to you for more information. 

Technology and Automation

We’ve talked about how training and targeted content can foster sales enablement, which means that the last part of the equation is technology.

As you already know, we’re a HubSpot Partner Agency, which means we’re partial to their sales enablement tools, but there are plenty of options out there if you’re not ready to jump on the HubSpot bandwagon. Let’s focus on a few general tech tools you can use to empower your sales team to sell better, and faster. 

Email Sequences

Automated email sequences are a key way to help your sales team close faster. Just as email workflows help nurture leads through to your sales funnel, so can email sequences nurture prospects towards closing. Using an email sequence tool can make this process so simple for your sales team to implement, they hardly have to think about it. 

They can set up customized email sequences that follow up with a prospect if they haven’t responded in a few days. This way, your sales team is making sure no prospects fall through the cracks, without having to think about it or take extra time out of their already busy days to send those follow ups. 

Calendar Linking or Meeting Links

One tool we’re loving lately is automatic calendar linking, also known as automated prospecting. This tool allows your sales team to connect their calendars directly to their emails.

When they send out an email to a lead, automated prospecting allows that lead to schedule a time to meet with your sales rep, whenever is most convenient for them. This removes a big step in the sales process, and makes it easy for leads to convert to prospects on their own.

Chatbots and Live Chat

Direct messaging, aka live chat, is another seriously useful sales enablement tool that HubSpot offers. Live chat gives your sales reps the chance to talk to prospects at the exact moment they’re thinking about your company and browsing your available services.

Best of all, the HubSpot live chat is easily optimized so that the chat option is only shown for high quality leads. This way, your sales team doesn’t waste time on every visitor who comes to your site with a question.

Sales enablement is the process of empowering your sales reps to sell better with the tools, the content, and the data they need to close bigger deals, faster.

If you’re not sure where to start with sales enablement, we’d recommend adding just one or two tools. Investing in a CRM like HubSpot is also a great way to get all the functionality you need, plus the training help that can get your sales team onboarded and using the tools in as little time as possible. 

If you have more questions about sales enablement, we’re here to help. Chat with the Evenbound team or leave us a message online — we’d love to answer any question you might have. 

New call-to-action
New call-to-action

Facebook Advertising 101: Types of Facebook Ads

Facebook Advertising 101: Types of Facebook Ads

Facebook Advertising 101: Types of Facebook Ads

Facebook advertising is the most popular social media advertising platform, and one of the most popular digital advertising platforms, surpassed only by Google Ads. 

In the beginning of Facebook Ads, super low-cost ad prices were drawing advertisers to the platform to supplement pre-existing Facebook followings (tips on how to grow a FB following here). Now, digital marketing agencies recognize Facebook as a powerful tool for narrowly targeted ads (a great way to see quality conversions, especially if you apply inbound marketing methodology to your Facebook ad campaigns).

Whether you’d like to segment by interest, age, occupation, income level, or more, Facebook makes it easy to drill down on an ad set that’s highly specific. The key is to choose the right ad type for your social media ad campaign goals. To do that, it’s important to understand the different types of Facebook Ads. Let’s look at a comprehensive breakdown of each type of Facebook ad, with examples, here:

The Different Types of Facebook Ads

There are a number of different types of Facebook ads, each with their own pros and cons depending on what your objective is for your Facebook ad campaign. Let’s take a quick look at the different types of Facebook ads available:

Brand Awareness

Facebook Ads

If you’re new to Facebook, or are hoping to get the word out about your product, a brand awareness campaign can help you get new followers and let people know that your brand exists. Facebook’s brand awareness ads are pretty flexible, so you’ll see them used often, even for campaigns that aren’t related to brand awareness. 

To get the most out of these ads, though, you’ll want to create some show-stopping content. The goal is to make an impression that helps people remember you.

Facebook Brand Awareness Ad Example

This ad from Promo is a great example of a brand awareness ad that makes people stop and look. The creative for this ad is a bright, powerful burst video that catches the eye. 

They’ve included a “learn more” button for those who are interested in checking out their brand, but even if you don’t click on the ad, you’re likely to remember its vibrant colors and associate them with the Promo brand name. Brand awareness mission accomplished. 

Local Awareness Ad

Got a local company or brick and mortar store? Local awareness ads work just like brand awareness ads, but they’re tied to your specific location. If you’re trying to create awareness for a new store you have opening up, these ads can be targeted to specific geographic locations, ensuring you’re only spending money on ads going to people in your area — people who will actually be able to visit you. 

Store Visit Facebook Ads

If you’re trying to drive foot traffic, a store visit ad is the way to go. Store visit ads not only target audiences based on geographic location, but they can provide a “get directions” button so your followers or new ad recipients can figure out how to get to you at just the push of a button. 

Website Conversion Ads

Brand awareness campaigns are a great way to drive long-term success. If you’re looking to see immediate conversions though, a website conversions ad campaign is a better choice. If you have a quality offer, like a discount or a cool ebook you know your target audience won’t be able to say no to, a web conversion ad is the way to go. 

Website Conversion Ad Example

Check out this simple web conversion ad from The Sill. It’s bright, eye-catching (it’s a video ad) and it speaks to millennials by encouraging them to grow their “indoor jungle”. Their “Shop Now” button links right over to their website, where visitors are immediately met with their newsletter sign-up CTA. A quick, easy way to add to an email list.

Just make sure to use web conversion ads intuitively — you’re spending money to get people on your website, after all. Make sure they’re headed somewhere useful, like The Sill sending users to their newsletter sign-up CTA. 

A landing page or a content offer download would also work to collect that contact information. 

Clicks-to-Website or Traffic Ads

If traffic is what you’re after, the clicks-to-website ad type is Facebook’s best option. Possibly one of the easiest ads to develop, they look just like a sponsored post, but link over to your latest blog post or product offer, or even a landing page on your website. 

Clicks-to-Website Ad Example

This click-to-website ad from Inside Weather is particularly effective, as it’s a video ad. The video works to show off the customization and ease of assembly their product offers, and the ad doesn’t ask too much from the viewer. 

A simple “shop now” CTA ensures ad viewers make it to the website. Inside Weather isn’t asking much from consumers, probably because they know that if they get consumers to their page, the rest of their marketing strategy will work to capture contact information, and close on a sale. 

This is a simple, effective example of a click-to-website or traffic ad you’ll see often on Facebook. Here, the goal is just to get the viewer to the advertiser’s website. Then, its optimized marketing strategy can do the rest.  

Facebook Event Ads

Hosting an event? Have a booth at an upcoming festival or show? Let people know, and get them excited about it with an event ad. These ads are designed to help you promote events. They do a great job of getting the word out and give you an idea of how many people are interested in the event; plus, they’re shareable, so you can hope to gain more exposure there too. 

If you’re looking for event signups, though, you’re probably better off using a website conversion ad to meet on-page goals and collect contact information. 

Offer Claim Facebook Ad

An offer claim ad is a great way to drive sales if you have a specific offer or discount you’re promoting. Offer claim ads allow you to customize your CTA, and can be used for both in-store or online promotions. 

Whether it’s a 20% off discount code or a free coffee thermos with purchase, Facebook will keep track of the people who have claimed the offer, and send them notifications when your offer is about to expire, helping drive traffic to your site. 

Example of an Offer Claim Ad

Check out this offer claim ad from HelloFresh. It’s simple but attractive, and $80 Off makes a pretty compelling offer. 

When you click the “get offer” button, you’re taken right to their site, and the discount is loaded into your cart immediately. Then, users can check out with the click of a button. Pretty effective. 

Full-Form Lead Generation Facebook Ads

One of the biggest issues with most Facebooks ads that work to drive conversions is that they require the user to leave Facebook. 

Facebook has addressed that issue with their full-form lead generation ads. These ads actually allow users to fill out your lead generation forms in-app, and Facebook will help by auto-filling their contact information for some of the more general fields. 

Take a look at this one we created for our client, Renewed Homes: 

When a Facebook user clicks on the “learn more” button, they get this pop-up, still on the Facebook website or in the Facebook app:

You can see that the form will auto-populate the user’s information, so all they have to fill in are the three top fields and their ZIP code, and then submit the form. Once they hit that submit button, their information goes to our client, and the user can go right back to their social media surfing. 

The lead generation ads are perfect if you’re looking to capture contact information. They offer the most seamless conversion experience possible, and you can sync Facebook to your existing CRM, so those leads are waiting for you the moment you log in on Monday morning. 

Facebook Like Campaigns

If you’re just looking to get the word out about your brand or company and expand your reach, a page like campaign is another great way to go. Unlike an awareness campaign, a like campaign does offer a little measurable engagement. Instead of linking to your website or an offer, like campaigns encourage users to like your Facebook page, so they’ll see your organic content in the future. 

Example of a Like Campaign Ad

This Funny or Die ad is a great example of like campaign that also works to generate engagement. It’s a video — which will help boost engagement right off the bat, and it features two well-known comedians. 

That’s a pretty good way to drive up those reactions, comments, and shares, while reminding people to like your page at the same time.

Engagement Ads or Boosted Posts

Engagement ads are similar to boosted posts, in that they mostly look like organic Facebook posts. The difference? You can target who your post goes to, and you can encourage engagement with comments, shares, and reactions. You can tell you’re looking at an engagement ad by the little “sponsored” indicator just below the title of whoever has created the ad. 

busy-mom-blog-ad

Example of a Boosted Post

Check out this example. This is an ad that’s been created by a blogger, to promote a brand she’s sponsored by.  It shows up in my feed like a shared article or blog — I wouldn’t know this was an ad if I didn’t see the “sponsored” tag.

Since there are no buttons to “Learn More” or “Shop Now” this just looks like an organic post within my feed. The difference is that it has been boosted, and specifically targeted to a demographic of Facebook users likely to appreciate the brand this blogger is promoting.

App Engagement and App Install Ads

If you’ve got an app, Facebook’s got an ad for you. Choose from their app install ads that encourage people to either engage with your app (usually targeted to people who already like your app) or download it (encouraging new people to try out your app). 

How to Choose the Right Types of Facebook Ads for Your Campaign

Clearly, Facebook offers a ton of different ad styles, each better for different objectives. So how do you choose the right ad type? First, think about what your objectives are:

  • Do you want to drive more traffic to your website? 
  • Are you hoping to boost lead generation? 
  • Maybe you want to jumpstart sales with a discount promo. 
  • Or maybe you’re just launching your brand on Facebook and you need a boost to get started. 

Whatever your objective, it’s important to choose it before you choose a Facebook ad type, because each Facebook ad type is optimized to deliver different results based on your objectives. 

For example, if your goal is to drive traffic and conversions to your site, a like campaign won’t work. It’s an in-app Facebook ad type that doesn’t encourage users to navigate away from Facebook. Instead, a web conversion or click-to-website, or even an offer claim ad would make more sense.

If you’re not sure which types of Facebook ads are right for your goals, a digital marketing agency can help. It’s their job to optimize ad campaigns for optimal results based on your campaign objectives. Here at Evenbound, that’s something we do every day. If you’d like a bit of guidance on your Facebook ad campaigns, or you’re looking for permanent support, we can help

New call-to-action
New call-to-action