Top Web Design Trends of 2020

Top Web Design Trends of 2020

Top Web Design Trends of 2020

There’s a lot of new going on already in 2020, but one thing we’re particularly excited for here at Evenbound is new web design trends! Since we recently rebranded and updated our entire website, web design is something we’ve had on the brain for a while now. We thought we’d take some of the lessons we’ve learned about new and upcoming trends in web design, and put them into this blog. So without further ado, here are some of the top web design trends for 2020: 

Solid Frames of White Space

If we could pick just one favorite web design trend of 2020, it would definitely be white space.  (Or clean, minimalist themes. Who could pick just one favorite?) Old, clunky websites with huge blocks of text just aren’t cute, and they’re really hard to look at and navigate. 

2020 is the year of minimalism, and that means plenty of white space, which we love. White space offers immediate, clear organization, and makes it easier for the user to digest everything that’s on the page. 

For all of our SEO fans out there, it’s also a great way to increase your time-on-page. The more whitespace your design has, the more likely a reader is going to stick around. Since they’re getting little bite-sized pieces of information that don’t feel taxing to read, they’re more likely to keep on reading. 

Minimalist Navigation

Great web design makes the user’s life easier. One trend that’s working hard to help site visitors out in 2020 is minimalist navigation. Designers are taking old, bulky dropdowns and bloated menus and turning them into sleek navigation options. Take this menu from Google as an example: with just four available buttons, it’s hard to get lost on this site. 

Ueno is another great example. As soon as you scroll below the fold, the menu minimizes into just two little lines, helping keep the menu from breaking up the design of the rest of the page. But, as soon as you click the lines, their full menu pops right up, ensuring the viewer doesn’t lose any functionality. 

Minimalist Design With Maximized Text and Headers

It’s 2020 and words are back in! (Thank goodness, my content writing job kind of depends on it.) We’ve talked about how minimalist design is taking over, but with that comes a new focus on big text and massive headers. 

This is a design trend that really works to help the reader. It makes it easy for visitors and causal scrollers to see what’s most important on a page, and quickly jump to the sections that answer their questions. 

From a design standpoint, this is a trend that brings impact. When your website is designed with a minimalist style, and all elements are clean, neutral, and sleek, a bold header seriously stands out. The combination delivers an updated, modern feel that makes your website look professional, without being boring. 

Soft Shadows, Layers, and Floating Elements

In 2020, design is all about taking busyness and clutter out but keeping visual interest in. Though most sites have been stripped down to a clean, minimalist design, we’re adding fun and depth to those clean looks with shadows, layers, and floating elements.

You can see here on our site how our images look like they’re floating off the page, and our HubSpot Gold badge is layered on top of the image. HubSpot’s page has a similar effect, layering the most important image on top of more subtle backgrounds to really make it stand out on the page. 

This trend does a great job of making a site look beautiful and interesting, without getting too cluttered or overwhelming for the user. These elements also work to show your user where they should be putting their focus.

Motion and Interactivity

In 2020, flat websites are over. Exciting, interactive, and visual websites are taking charge by adding motion to the average web-user’s experience. You’ve already seen a bit of motion here on the Evenbound site, as visual elements slide in from the left, right, top, and bottom of the page. If you head to Ueno’s website, you’ll see elements moving everywhere on their site, but in a way that adds to the user’s experience, rather than distracting from it. 

Interactivity is also a big up-and-coming trend. It’s taking off a little bit slower, because it takes more work to implement, but when done properly it’s a great design element to wow visitors, and to keep them engaging with your site. Again, Ueno has mastered this element with “The Interview“. The image below gives you a quick idea of what that looks like, but head on over to their site if you want to interact with it yourself. 

Text-Only Heroes

Big headers and text are popular this year, but a new trend that’s really taking hold in 2020 is text-only heroes. This is a great way to get a message across, it’s visually very clean, and it offers the added benefit of being light and fast to load. Massive header images have been slowing down page speed for years, so it’ll be nice to see some super-responsive, bold heroes. 

Illustrations

Illustrations in web design are one of the most popular trends of 2020. The contrast between handmade and digital visual elements is a hot trend right now, and people are loving the visual interest that cute illustrations bring to an otherwise clean and minimalist site.  

Chatbots

It’s possible that chatbots don’t exactly fit into “design”, but they are an important top trend for websites in 2020. And, since you have to design them, we’re keeping them in this blog. 

Chatbots essentially bridge the gap between you and your consumer. They offer up an instant form of communication that makes it easy for consumers to ask questions the minute they think of them. 

The best chatbots are simple and specific. Check out these three examples below. None of them are obtrusive, but they all invite the visitor to engage with the website in a specific, meaningful way. 

Accessibility for Visitors with Disabilities

When we talk about digital accessibility, we’re talking about building and designing websites in a way that’s inclusive to individuals who have visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities. Here’s a great resource if you’d like some in-depth info about how to easily design your website for everyone

In 2020, the internet is only getting more popular, and since the majority of us use it every day, it’s important that we make our website accessible to everyone. For web designers, that means designing with accessibility in mind. Adding features like larger text size, as you can see we did for this client below, go a long way in helping everyone use the internet with ease.

Other digital accessibility features you’re going to see more of this year include, but certainly aren’t limited to: 

    • Designing with greater color contrast so those with visual disabilities can still see every aspect of your website. 
    • Including labels and instructions with form fields so the visually impaired can understand what they need to type in each form field. 
    • Web design that allows for keyboard navigation

Web Design Trends in 2020 Put the User First

This year’s most popular design trends have one thing in common — they’re all working to help deliver a better, more seamless experience for the user.

Clean, minimalist designs make it easy to notice and understand the information on a web page that is most important. Interactive elements and motion also help draw attention to key images and portions of a page, without making a subtle design feel cluttered. All of these trends are working together to ensure you are able to quickly identify, and navigate to, the information you need to answer your questions or solve your pain points. 

With web design trends like these, the internet is only becoming more accessible and user-friendly, and we’re sure here for it. And in case you haven’t already, be sure to click around our new website to see some of these new web design trends in action!

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What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

Outbound marketing is and has been a lot of things. If we’re honest, it hasn’t always been great. Outbound marketing is probably best known for annoying push marketing.

Yeah, we’re talking telemarketers, cold calling, that delightful junk mail you’re always throwing away, and basically any form of marketing that pushes a product or service on you, without even attempting to be personal. It’s not relevant, it’s usually poorly timed (ahem, telemarketers who call at dinner time), and it doesn’t usually put you in a positive frame of mind to make a purchase. 

But now that we’re clear about how terrible outbound marketing used to be, we can talk about what outbound marketing is in 2020, and how it can be successful and useful today. We’re going to focus on effective outbound marketing because even though there are companies out there still using traditional techniques like telemarketing, there are better, more efficient, and more positive ways to implement outbound marketing in 2020.

What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

In 2020, outbound marketing is an effective way to get your message in front of the right people immediately, and on a larger scale than organic and inbound tactics can deliver. 

It’s important to remember that while outbound marketing has been frustrating to consumers in the past, it’s still a successful marketing strategy when applied correctly in a non-interruptive way. As we move into 2020, outbound marketing will continue to evolve. We’ve already seen outbound marketing deliver results for our clients in forms like pay-per-click advertising, social media advertising, and even strategic outbound email campaigns, and we expect that trend to continue throughout this new year. 

In 2020, successful outbound marketing has less to do with what platforms you use, and more to do with how you apply your own strategy to those platforms. Let’s take a look at what outbound marketing that works will look like in 2020.

Successful Outbound Marketing in 2020 Will Be:

Outbound marketing doesn’t have to be disruptive. In fact, it can be a really helpful form of marketing, especially for consumers who are ready to make a purchasing decision. Here’s a glance at what outbound marketing in 2020 should look like.

Personalized

Impersonal, disruptive messaging is the number one reason that traditional outbound marketing strategies fail. When done right, outbound marketing can produce serious results for your company. It puts you in front of a large pool of the right consumers. 

But, you’re only going to get their attention if your message is relevant to their goals and pain points and if it’s not disruptive to their life.

That’s why we’re hoping that in 2020, more people start to look at outbound marketing through an inbound marketing lense. There’s nothing wrong with paid and outbound tactics — they really do work! But, they work best when they’re approached with an inbound mindset of incorporating your message seamlessly into the consumer’s day, rather than interrupting them to shout out an impersonalized promotion. 

Take the time to understand what your audience is looking for. If you’re on Facebook, choose audiences who have a legitimate interest in your product or service. If you’re working on paid ad sets for Google, choose search terms that are relevant to what you’re promoting. No one wants to see an ad for gym shoes when they searched “ice cream near me.”

If you’re hoping to implement successful outbound marketing strategies in 2020, personalized, relevant messages that aren’t disruptive are the key.

Efficient

Outbound marketing tactics in 2020 have a specific purpose — to convert qualified leads more efficiently than inbound tactics can. Outbound marketing gets your message in front of the right consumers, right now. Make sure you’re using that to your advantage. 

Implement your 2020 outbound marketing campaigns where you know they’ll be the most effective, and efficient. Outbound marketing tactics like remarketing and paid search ad campaigns targeted to end-of-funnel keywords are great ways to quickly convert leads who have already shown interest in your company. They just need that little extra push to convert. 

That’s what you use outbound marketing for — efficient, tactical conversions of the leads you already know are interested in your product or service. If you’re trying to use outbound marketing tactics to nurture leads and build relationships, you’re not going to see those immediate results or the ROI you’re looking for, because that’s not what outbound marketing is designed to do. 

Cost-Effective

The time for massive outbound marketing budgets is over. We’re not saying you shouldn’t spend money on outbound marketing, but we are saying you should be strategic about where you spend your budget. Digital outbound marketing methods can be exceptionally cost-effective if you know what you’re doing. How to know what you’re doing? Here are a few good ways to start:

Target End-of-Buyer's-Journey Keywords

It’s worth it to spend money on outbound marketing campaigns that target people at the end of their buyer’s journey. They know exactly what they’re looking for, they just need to make a purchase. 

Long-tail keywords like “Honeywell Commercial Alarm System Installation in Grand Rapids” show you that the consumer has already done their homework, and made their decision. Now, they just need to find a provider. When you bid on these keywords, you’ll show up as a first option for those consumers who are ready to buy. 

Spend on High-Return Markets

If you have a specific product or service that secures higher returns, that’s where you should be allocating your outbound marketing budget. If you can spend less to make more with your outbound campaigns, you’re going to see the ROI and the results you’ve been looking for.

Above all, analyze your outbound marketing campaigns constantly. Keep a close eye on where your money is going, and where it’s delivering leads.

In 2020, the paid advertising market will be more competitive than ever. The best way to get ahead without breaking the bank is to spend strategically on just the campaigns sure to deliver you the best results, and the greatest ROI. 

Strategic

Outbound marketing is one part of a complete digital marketing strategy. It’s important to apply outbound marketing tactics in the spaces where they can provide you with the greatest returns. 

In 2020 outbound marketing will be one of the fastest ways to get your company out ahead of the competition, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the only marketing tactic out there, and it shouldn’t be the only component of your marketing strategy. 

Outbound marketing costs money. And as more and more people are buying into paid social media advertising, pay-per-click ads, display campaigns, and more in 2020, the costs of outbound marketing will continue to rise. 

In order to see significant returns, and to get the leads you want at a price that allows you to keep growing, it’s important to be strategic about where you use your outbound marketing tactics. 

For example, inbound marketing can help you nurture leads with relevant content that answers questions. Outbound marketing can’t do that. Outbound marketing can raise brand awareness, get your company in front of the right leads, and help you close those buyers who are ready to make a decision, but it can’t do the long, hard work of lead nurturing, educating, or building relationships — all important components of an effective long-term growth strategy. For that, you need other tactics and strategies like inbound marketing and excellent customer service. 

In 2020 the key to a marketing strategy that delivers growth is understanding how to balance inbound and outbound tactics for the best results. Use outbound marketing where you can get those quick wins: targeted and remarketing ads, calling consumers back to you at the end of their buyer’s journey, and raising brand awareness. But remember that in the end, outbound marketing is a tool to help you build on an already solid marketing foundation. 

If you use your outbound tactics to supplement an already amazing website, rich original content, and a robust digital marketing strategy, you’re sure to win in 2020. 

Not sure how to implement outbound marketing in 2020? Don’t hesitate to reach out! We’ve got a ton of resources on outbound marketing, and we love to chat about how inbound and outbound marketing can complement each other. We’d be happy to help answer any questions you’ve got. 

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

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

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

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.

Direct Traffic Vs Organic Traffic: Everything You Need to Know

Direct Traffic Vs Organic Traffic: Everything You Need to Know

Direct Traffic Vs Organic Traffic: Everything You Need to Know

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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Lead Generation Tips and Tricks for SMBs

Lead Generation Tips and Tricks for SMBs

Lead Generation Tips and Tricks for SMBs

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. 

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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.

 

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#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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5 Strategies Proven to Boost Web Traffic

5 Strategies Proven to Boost Web Traffic

If you’re looking at your website traffic for the month and are disappointed by it, know that it doesn’t have to be this way. No matter what your product, service, or industry, there are things that you can start doing today to boost web traffic to your site. 

 

These 5 strategies are proven to boost web traffic and can help you turn around those disappointing numbers.

Write More Content

More isn’t always better, except that it is, especially when it comes to content on your website. The equation is simple: more content = more keywords used = more opportunities for searchers to find you. 

 

We can complicate that a little by adding that your search engine ranking will increase the more you use keywords in unique instances in your content (i.e., the more blogs and pages you have on a subject, the higher your ranking for the related keywords).

 

While average blog content length is between 500 and 800 words, we’re finding out that the optimum content length for blog posts is actually much longer—think in the thousands of words. Digital marketing influencer Neil Patel says that the best blog content (most shares, most engagement, etc.) is actually 3,000 to 10,000 words.

 

But aren’t people’s attention spans shrinking? I thought no one read anymore?

 

Here’s the deal: people aren’t necessarily reading all of your content. They’re skimming it. The more content you have, the more they’re going to get out of it, since they’re only seeing and digesting less than a third of the words on the page. 

 

Plus, it establishes authority for your organization—the more you have to say about something, the more it seems like you know what you’re talking about. 

Get Active on Social Media

Social media is one of the best tools for reaching potential customers and leads. Everyone (or nearly everyone) is using at least one form of social media, if not several. 

 

For those reasons alone, not to mention the advertising, sharing, and engagement capabilities of these platforms, social media is a critical part of any digital strategy, and for increasing traffic to your website.

 

So, first of all, have a social media presence on all of the platforms that are relevant to your industry, whether that be LinkedIn and Twitter or Instagram and Houzz. Ensure that your website URL is in your bio (Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest) or in the designated profile field (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Houzz) so that people can find it. 

 

You should also be using your social media to promote your content. Share your blog posts across your social media channels so that followers and their followers can read, like, and share them. You can also refer users to relevant content when they have questions about your company, products, or services. Those shares will bring users directly to your content on your site, boosting traffic.

Use Mobile-Friendly Design

Mobile-friendly design or mobile-responsive design is web design that accommodates different types of devices and different screen sizes, as well as the differences in the way that internet users interact with websites on different devices. 

 

A website with mobile-friendly design will have pages that adapt to various screen sizes, ensuring that design elements and text scale to the appropriate size for the screen they’re displayed on and that text, buttons, menus, etc. are readable and usable.

 

Additionally, internet users searching on mobile are going to have different behavior than those using computers. They’re less likely to read long content (scrolling thumb is realllll) and they’re also less likely to complete long forms. 

 

So, you may want to consider how your content presents to the mobile user, as well as shortening or autofilling forms. 

 

Over 60 percent of searches are performed on mobile devices, and, according to HubSpot, 63 percent of people expect a mobile-responsive website design. What this means is that website visitors want to view your site on their tablets and smartphones. If they can’t, you’re going to lose their attention and they’ll navigate away from your site.

 

More to the point though, mobile-friendly design is crucial if you want to boost web traffic. Why? 

 

The answer won’t surprise you: Google’s algorithm. 

 

Since 2015, Google has been using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for mobile searches. In 2016, Google began mobile-first indexing, meaning that rather than the desktop version of sites being what the algorithm uses to determine the value of the content to the user, mobile pages are indexed first. 

If your site isn’t mobile-responsive, you’re going to be penalized by the Google algorithm, which will affect the volume of traffic to your site. Click To Tweet

Use Google Ads

People are using Google all day, every day, everywhere. 

 

That means that people, all day, every day, everywhere are seeing Google ads. And that’s why they work. 

 

Google ads are a simple, comprehensive, and targeted way to reach your desired markets and direct them to your website and landing pages. Whether through paid search or the Google Display Network, Google ads can drive traffic to your website.

Write Guest Blogs

Guest blogging is the practice of writing blog posts that are featured on other blogs in your field or industry. 

 

You might be thinking, Why should I write content for someone else’s blog and boost their SEO and web traffic when I could post it on my blog? 

 

Well, guest blogging:

  • Builds credibility—By being invited or allowed to guest blog, you’re having other industry professionals vouch for your knowledge and experience. 
  • Reaches new audiences—The site you’re guest blogging for might have a greater or slightly different audience than your blog, and by writing a guest blog, you’re reaching a new audience for whom your products and services are relevant.
  • Gets your site a link—The site you’re guest blogging for is going to include some information about you, the guest blogger, and your organization. This will include a link to your site (or it should!). Google takes into account the number of inbound links to your site in search engine ranking, and higher search engine rankings equal more web traffic.
  • Doesn’t preclude similar content on your own site—Obviously, you can’t just copy one of your existing blogs and send it to another site as a guest blog, or they’ll get penalized for duplicate content. But what you can do is write on the same subject as a guest blog you wrote on your own site. Make sure the wording and formatting are fresh, but the ideas conveyed can be reimagined and posted.
  • More content to promote on social media—just because it’s not on your blog doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote it through your social channels. Your followers may find the content interesting and useful and choose to engage with it and with your company. 

 

While you’re at it, you should have guest bloggers on your blog as well. The benefits of guest bloggers on your site include:

  • Building credibility by linking to other, credible industry professionals
  • More content and unique instances of keywords
  • Outbound links to reputable, relevant sites
  • Social sharing of the content by the author, amplifying your social media activity

 

Tried everything and still not seeing a traffic boost? Let’s chat. Inbound marketing is our thing, and we’re experts at driving the right, qualified traffic. We’d love to see how we can help

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