10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

5-easy-ways-to-generate-website-traffic

Use Email Automation to Improve eCommerce Sales 

There is no denying that automated emails are one of the best methods to nurture leads and convert them into paying customers.  When you have an effective email campaign that provides significant value to those who follow your content, your organization can generate repeat conversions with minimal ongoing effort.

Your email list is the backbone of your eCommerce business, and making sure you are sending the right kinds of emails to those who have signed up for your list is incredibly important.

Why Automate Your Emails?

The savviest eCommerce companies understand that consistent communication with an email list generates web traffic and sales. By automating these emails, you’re freeing up time to spend on other areas of the business.

Automated emails are carefully planned emails sent to subscribers at a specific time or as a response to the actions of users on a website. Automation allows eCommerce companies to save time, boost sales, warm up leads, and create highly targeted offers.

Think of automated emails as a function of your business. Just as your business contains different departments that take care of each aspect of the business, the same can be said for automated emails.  Make them a regular part of your communications and marketing, and you will understand what a game-changer this can be for your business.

Transactional Emails

The purpose of transactional emails is to confirm that your customer has completed a purchase and that their order is on its way. Obviously, this matters because you need to let your customers know their order has been received and is being processed. We consider these to be standard transactional emails:

  • Order confirmation
  • Shipping notification
  • Delivery notification

As straightforward as this may seem, there are a few other things that you can do with transactional emails:

  • Provide an offer for their next purchase. It could be a fixed discount or free shipping.
  • Remind customers of products they might have been interested in purchasing.
  • Obtain feedback on your ordering process.

New Subscriber Welcome Email Series

The first major step in any prospect’s buying process is to subscribe to an email list. After they have subscribed to your email list, we recommend initiating a new subscriber email series.

This series matters because if a prospect is interested enough to subscribe to your email list, it turns them into a hot lead who is more likely to buy from you.

Emails in this series should be sent out immediately. Consider including content such as your most popular videos or blogs, more insight about your company and your mission, or an offer exclusively for new subscribers. The intent is to keep them engaged and encourage frequent visits to your website.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to activate all 10 of these automated emails at once. Start with what you can and expand as your company grows. 

New Customer Welcome Email Series

Once a customer has bought something from your organization, they need to be reassured that not only did they make the right decision, they also need to be assured that they are valued. The new customer welcome email series does this.

The emails in this series need to do two things. They need to cement that you provided a seamless buying experience and they need to encourage new customers to make a second purchase.

Start these emails off with a strong brand statement to establish credibility and trust. You can follow that up with information about social media channels and support resources if necessary. We also suggest including a request for product feedback, just make sure that email will arrive only after the order is delivered!

Abandoned Cart Emails

Abandoned cart emails in your campaign have the potential to be some of your most profitable emails. These need to be taken seriously.

Potential customers abandon their carts for various reasons, and the goal of this email is to get them to complete the purchase. These emails should be sent about a half hour after the cart is abandoned. Focus on helping the customer more than selling to them. They may have abandoned their cart due to technical issues so consider including contact information for customer support.

Back in Stock Notifications

Items that are out of stock are inconvenient for everybody involved and it can be a legitimate reason why a customer doesn’t buy anything. This is where the back in stock notification comes in handy.  It will let customers know that what they wanted is back in stock, which will hopefully lead them to buy.

Most of the time, back in stock notifications can take the place of an abandoned cart email in that it makes more sense for your customer to receive this email instead of the abandoned cart email if anything in your catalog is out of stock.

Showing pictures of the product that was previously out of stock, linking the email to a regenerated session of their cart and making alternative suggestions if the item has been discontinued are the best ways to use back in stock notifications.

Product Education Emails or Evergreen Blog Articles

Content in the form of information that provides infinite value is known as “evergreen” content.

If executed properly, these can be very profitable emails in your campaigns. These messages can convert followers into buyers and they can convince buyers to purchase more. Product education emails can vastly improve a buying experience and give you loads of opportunities to cross sell.

Product education emails should be part of your new customer or new subscriber email series, as they can provide information that those on your email list will appreciate tremendously.

Cross Sell Emails

There are two steps you should take when somebody buys one of your products.

First, make sure that the customer’s buying experience is as perfect as it can get. Make sure there is product education content attached to the purchase if necessary, and make sure any questions about the product can be answered easily.

The second thing you should do is send a cross sell email. This is where you send an email that sells something that is related to what was just sold to the customer. Cross sell emails are important because they will help your customers find something else that is useful for them as well as help you generate more sales.

Pro Tip: Test different variables like subject lines, delivery times and workflow spacing to determine what generates the best response. 

VIP Emails

Your most valuable customers ought to be treated differently than customers who just come and go. When your VIP customers remain happy, they will keep buying from you and you won’t have to work as hard to generate conversions.

This is where the VIP email comes in. VIP emails target the top 5 to 20 percent of customers, giving them an incentive to continue making purchases.

Executing these kinds of emails means you need to know who your VIP customers are. When it comes to determining your VIP customers, consider how much your customers have purchased and how frequently they have ordered from you. You can even take this a step further by creating a formal rewards program with different levels based on how often someone makes a purchase.

Win Back Emails

When a customer has not purchased something from your website for a long time, you’re going to need to win them back.  These emails are important because once a website visitor has bought from you, the chances of them buying from you again are very high, and a well executed win-back email campaign can accomplish this.

Executing a solid win-back email campaign is done by determining when customers lose interest. One way you can do this is by tracking how much time has passed between purchases. The average time between orders will vary from one online retailer to the next. Determine what makes sense for your business and build an automation with an offer they can’t refuse.

Date-Based Emails

Everyone can relate to important dates and milestones, whether it is a birthday, anniversary, or another similar event. Your customers and subscribers will appreciate anybody who remembers their birthdays or the date of their first purchase.

Executing date-based emails is as easy as collecting a subscriber’s birthday or anniversary, then putting those emails into your campaign. You’ll then be able to offer anything you want to them within your date-based email.

Your Next Steps 

Having one email campaign for everyone who visits your website is simply not enough if you are serious about acquiring and keeping customers for your brand.

Ten different email campaigns may seem overwhelming, but given that most email campaign software allows you to easily build automations with different kinds of triggers and parameters, this is much easier than it looks.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your eCommerce conversions. Have more questions about setting up successful email automation campaigns? Reach out to us directly.

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10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

Automated emails are one of the best methods to nurture leads and convert them into paying customers. When you have an effective email campaign that provides significant amounts of value to those who follow your content, your organization can generate revenue with minimal ongoing effort.

read more

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7 Marketing Metrics Every Manufacturer Should be Tracking

7 Marketing Metrics Every Manufacturer Should be Tracking

7 Marketing Metrics Every Manufacturer Should be Tracking

5-easy-ways-to-generate-website-traffic

How to Use Data to Run More Effective Campaigns 

What gets measured gets not only managed, but improved.

Marketing metrics are no different, and as the world becomes more and more digital in its communication, marketing campaigns utilize a set of metrics that are much more trackable and manageable than they ever were. However, you can find yourself getting overwhelmed and even wasting a lot of time if you are unsure of where to focus your attention.

Of the dozens of marketing metrics that you can track, there are seven that not only matter tremendously but also fall in line with the inbound marketing approach that we follow. The goal of inbound marketing is to generate more leads through your website which can place you in control of the sales cycle, allowing you to pursue stronger partnerships with potential clients.

Once you have a good handle on these seven metrics, your organization will run more effective campaigns. You’ll find that your internet visibility is stronger, and your expertise is in much higher demand, especially in the world of manufacturing where there is a lot of competition.

The best part about these metrics is that they can be easily tracked using Google Analytics or similar tracking tools. Sure, there are more advanced tools available, but you won’t need to spend a lot of money to obtain insight on these basic data points.

Website Visits/Traffic Sources

Site visits are a basic but very important metric. Every campaign should have a “visits” goal because traffic is often the early indicator of how effective your message is. If clicks to a landing page are lower than expected, then the message, graphics and/or the call to action needs tweaking.

A closely related metric is traffic sources. Within Google Analytics, there are several primary “sources” you need to be aware of:

Direct Traffic: Visits that comes from those who directly typed or copied the URL of your website into their browser, clicked on a bookmark or clicked a link in an email/SMS chat.

Search/Organic Traffic: Visits to your website from an unpaid search result on Google, Bing or Yahoo.

Referral Traffic: Traffic that comes from a third-party website rather than a search engine. This could include links from press releases, guest articles, business directories or social media websites.

Paid Website Traffic: These are visits to your website from people who have clicked on a Google paid search ad or display ad. This only applies to businesses running advertising campaigns, and you’ll need proper tracking set-up within Analytics.

All four of these are equally important in that search engines like to see traffic coming from each source. There aren’t any hard and fast rules about the ideal breakdown in traffic, but direct traffic and organic traffic are still highly coveted. Take steps to improve traffic from all sources and you’ll be moving in the right direction.

Time Spent on Site

Do the visitors of your website leave after just checking out a few articles or pages?

Do they spend significant amounts of time surfing your website?

A little more than half of all website visitors spend less than 15 seconds on any given website, and we obviously want these visitors to hang around longer than that.

The first step to increasing time spent on your website is making sure your strategy includes buyer personas that focus on their pain points as well as content that addresses the challenges.

Publishing original content such as blog articles, case studies, podcasts, videos or white papers gives visitors a reason to explore your website. Plus, when you create thought-leadership content, you demonstrate to search engines why your website is relevant.

Bounce Rate

Related to time spent on a website is something called Bounce Rate.

A “Bounce” refers to the act of a visitor getting to the website and then leaving said website without any further interaction.

Ideally this rate should never rise above 60%. You need to make some serious adjustments to your message, homepage design, and some of your CTAs if your bounce rate is this high.

If your campaign message aligns with your landing page and you give visitors the information they want, you’ll begin to see your bounce rate fall. This is an iterative process that takes time. Systematic tweaks over time can yield results; but start tracking this now in order to get a baseline measurement.

Pages Ranked

Website success will always be related to search rankings, and the number of pages you rank for represents the number of chances for your potential customers to discover your content as well as your website.

Ideally you want this number to be the majority of pages that you have on your site. You can use a free tool like Google Search Console to track ranked pages. If you are ready to invest in a paid tool, you’ll get a little more insight on your ranking pages as well as those of your competitors.

Blogs, case studies or podcasts with specific key phrases are opportunities for your website to rank. These individual pages will begin to rank over time in searches, generating more visits and leads.

Leads Generated

Leads are generated by what is known as a call to action, or CTA.

Determining how many leads a given CTA in your content generates is one of the most useful marketing metrics you can track. Optimizing for leads (and quite often the goal is better qualified leads) is also an iterative process, involving incremental tweaks over time.

If you are running several campaigns and testing multiple CTAs, then you’ll be well on your way to understanding what is most appealing to your target customers.

Conversion Rate

Related to the number of leads is the conversion rate, the percentage of visitors to your website that complete a desired goal out of the total number of visitors.

A high conversion rate is ideal. Traffic doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t convert into leads who could possibly benefit from your services.

Think of conversion rate as a journey that a buyer takes that leads them to pursuing your product or service. You can segment this journey into three phases and track your conversion rate for each phase: The awareness phase, the consideration phase, and the decision phase.

By tracking your conversion rate through this journey, you’ll understand how far your visitors get into the conversion cycle. You can then alter your strategies and campaigns to improve conversions.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Probably one of the most important metrics to measure is ROI because it shows you directly which tactics work and which ones do not.

ROI is best expressed in a percentage. For example, a $1000 investment that generated $1200 in revenue would have an ROI of 20% since 1200 is 20% greater than 1000.

Determine your target ROI during planning and strategy conversions. Then work backward to further define the resources required to achieve this goal. Consider all of the resources you have at your disposal when doing this with the understanding that successful marketing campaigns don’t come together over night!

Next Steps for Your Marketing Team

Digital marketing strategies are a marathon, not a sprint.

This is why you should keep a close eye on these metrics and make adjustments as you go along. The same principles of traditional marketing apply to web-based marketing campaigns. You need to build trust and authority with your digital audience, using these metrics as indicators of your progress.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve website conversions. Have more questions about running successful marketing campaigns? Reach out to us directly.

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10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

Automated emails are one of the best methods to nurture leads and convert them into paying customers. When you have an effective email campaign that provides significant amounts of value to those who follow your content, your organization can generate revenue with minimal ongoing effort.

read more

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WordPress Websites: What to Look for in a Web Design Company

WordPress Websites: What to Look for in a Web Design Company

WordPress Websites: What to Look for in a Web Design Company

Find the Right Partner to Build Your WordPress Website 

Having a strong website is important because it’s often the first impression you will make on potential customers. Whether they found you through a search engine or through a link shared by a connection, your website is typically the first point of contact.  A strong website is well-organized, easy to navigate, modern (in terms of style and layout), functional, branded, and motivates the visitor to do business with you.

A company specializing in website design and development will help you achieve a website that looks great and is suited to your style or brand. A website developer will use the designer’s specifications in order to bring the concept to life. Here’s what to look for when choosing a WordPress web design company:

Are They The Total Package?

It takes a surprising number of specialists to launch a successful website. A content specialist will ensure you nail the marketing messages. A graphic designer can make those words pop. And a developer has the technical expertise to ensure everything functions properly. Make sure the company you partner with is able to handle the content, design and any custom coding needed for your website to function the way you want it to.

Review Their Portfolio

What has the web designer or developer done for other companies? Do you like their past work? While it’s true that the definition of what makes a great website varies slightly from company to company, you should observe a level of design and function that is indicative of a professional. Looking at the projects that your web design and development firm have already completed will give you the best idea of what they can do for you.

How Big is This Company – And How Big is Their Average Client?

Designing a website for a small business is much different than designing a website for a large corporation. The scope of work and resources required are drastically different. If a firm doesn’t understand your needs and how to fill them (one-on-one meetings, the ability to change things on your own in the content management system, follow up help after the project is complete), you might need to consider a firm better suited to work with small and mid-size businesses.

Pro Tip: It’s advantageous to work with a company that you can form a long-term business relationship with. Not all freelancers are interested in long-term relationships because they may not have the resources to support your future goals.

Consider Your Timeline

Do you need this project done quickly? Is there a specific date you have in mind to launch? Making sure that a company can plan a reasonable timeline, or that they can follow the timeline you have in mind, will help the project go smoothly. And don’t forget to ask how the relationship between your company and theirs will continue once the project is complete.

Upfront and Ongoing Investment

Depending on the status of your business, price can be a major factor in deciding who designs, builds, and maintains your website. Websites are a lot like cars, ranging from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the functionality, appearance and security required. That’s why it’s important to clearly define your goals and requirements and educate yourself on the resources required to make it happen. And remember, even after design, development, and implementation, websites require maintenance. They are a tool that can help your business grow and thrive when properly maintained.

We believe the best way to achieve your dream website is by hiring a single company dedicated to the design, development, and implementation of your site.  Contact us today for more information.

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10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

Automated emails are one of the best methods to nurture leads and convert them into paying customers. When you have an effective email campaign that provides significant amounts of value to those who follow your content, your organization can generate revenue with minimal ongoing effort.

read more

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Increase Website Conversions: Simple Site Edits for Manufacturers

Increase Website Conversions: Simple Site Edits for Manufacturers

Increase Website Conversions: Simple Site Edits for Manufacturers

How to Convert Website Traffic into Leads 

An eye-catching website is an essential component of any digital marketing strategy. However, having a good-looking website won’t necessarily convert web traffic into qualified leads. The best websites engage the audience, educate them, and demonstrate that your product or service is a viable solution to their challenges.

The challenge for marketing departments is knowing what site changes to implement because there are many variables that affect conversions. Short of conducting extensive split testing, in-house marketing teams must incrementally test different variables to see what performs best.

Set aside any preconceptions you have about what you think might work and what won’t. It’s amazing how much of our own perceptions influence our decision making. And remember that a website is always in development. You should always be testing and learning to better understand your audience and improve conversions.

Here are some of the most common website edits we implement to help clients improve conversions.

Define and clearly highlight your value proposition

Don’t bury this information! It should be front and center on your home page and any campaign landing pages. Knowing your target market, their pain points and how you solve them is of utmost importance. Do you understand the journey they take in order to solve these challenges? If you don’t immediately speak to your target markets’ needs, you’ve lost them.

Crafting these messages, both written and visual, is an art and a science. You need to consider how the visitor is arriving at your site – via organic Google search, display ad or PPC ad – and how the verbiage on the page builds on the information they expect to find.

Here are some content/messaging best practices to consider:

  • Make the text scannable and use short paragraphs. Visitors will only read about 20% of your content.
  • Be concise. Be relevant. Use action verbs.
  • Omit unnecessary words and minimize jargon.
  • Incorporate plenty of headlines. Be short and direct. Headlines should stand on their own and be understood out of context of the rest of the text.
  • Front load important information.
  •  It’s OK to leave the visitor wanting more.

Make Your Objective Clear

Just like with your value proposition, don’t bury this! Make it clear and obvious what you want your website visitors to do.

Is the first step in your buyer’s journey educational? Perhaps they should download an eBook or review product specs.

Is your product highly customizable for the unique needs of each client? Perhaps you might want to highlight case studies that demonstrate your ability to partner with customers and solve complex problems.

Remember this is step one of what could be a long and winding buyer’s journey! It’s your job to test and learn what’s going to move the lead through this journey efficiently.

The Three-Click Rule

Whenever we’re working on a website, we constantly ask this question: Are we getting the visitor to the information they want in three clicks or less?

If users can’t find what they are looking for quickly, they are likely to become frustrated and leave your website. This gets tricky for manufacturers with a robust set of products or services, or products that are complex in nature that might require the visitor to explore technical specifications.

Here are some items to keep in mind:

Navigation Bar: Make sure you have clear navigation at the top of the site. Visitors shouldn’t have to think too much about where they need to go; good navigation will lead them throughout the site naturally.

Site Search Tool: For websites that contain a lot of product data, consider an optimized search tool that will return relevant and accurate results.

Website Forms: Placement of lead capture forms is critical. You don’t want to turn customers off by immediately shoving a contact form in their face.

Buttons and Links: Use well labeled buttons, links and calls to action that tell users where they are and where they will be headed.

Build Trust With Reviews, Testimonials, or Case Studies

Testimonials play a valuable role in building trust and increasing sales. According to research from BrightLocal, 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Case studies also play a role in shaping buyer perception by illustrating a company’s success. By explaining how a customer used a product to solve a problem, you can demonstrate what your brand delivers and represents. Your leads are more likely to convert if you can show that others have benefited from what you’re offering.

Full-Length Case Studies: For longer case studies, we like to use the S.O.A.R. format. This stands for Situation, Opportunity, Action Taken and Results Generated.

Mini Case Studies: Some projects don’t require a detailed case study, but we find that there is still a story worth telling. Use mini-case studies to highlight customer wins as well.

Add a Live Chat or a Chatbot

Big companies like Amazon or Zappos have trained us to expect instant gratification, if not demand it. A recent study by Salesforce Research has shown that all buyers have the same expectations regardless of the purchase type. The study also indicated that 80% of business buyers expect real-time communications.

Don’t let this create unnecessary stress for your marketing and sales department. Chatbots can bridge the gap between getting questions answered immediately and speaking with a live human. Even a simple chatbot can capture contact information and reassure the website visitor that help is on the way.

Before you shoot down this idea, reasoning that chatbots are impersonal and don’t align with your brand, consider how this could accelerate your sales and marketing. Depending on how you build your chatbot, you have the potential to streamline lead qualification, lead nurturing and meeting scheduling. Aren’t these the same reasons we leverage other tools like email marketing?

Be available to your customers where and when they are looking for your services. Test a chatbot or a live chat feature and measure how it affects conversions.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve website conversions. Have more questions about your website content, design or user experience? Reach out to us directly.

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10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

Automated emails are one of the best methods to nurture leads and convert them into paying customers. When you have an effective email campaign that provides significant amounts of value to those who follow your content, your organization can generate revenue with minimal ongoing effort.

read more

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What makes marketing so challenging?

Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

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Manufacturers: Five Easy Ways to Generate More Website Traffic

Manufacturers: Five Easy Ways to Generate More Website Traffic

Manufacturers: Five Easy Ways to Generate More Website Traffic

Generate More Traffic, Leads and Sales 

Your company’s new website just went live. You’re eagerly monitoring traffic and keyword performance. While it’s everyone’s hope that visitors start browsing your content, good marketers know that it takes more than just a fancy new website to generate traffic, leads and sales. You have to work to get your message and your brand in front of customers.

Even if you’re seeing a decent amount of traffic to your site, the more quality traffic you generate will help increase the number of leads and conversions for your sales team. This is a numbers game that’s built on maintaining strong internet visibility. Here are five tried and true ways we’ve generated more website traffic for our manufacturing clients.

Always Be Optimizing Your Website

Website optimization isn’t one and done. It’s an ongoing task. While the frequency of these updates will be determined by the competitiveness of your specific niche/keywords, it’s necessary to make this a reoccurring priority. Updating on-page elements like title tags and meta descriptions are important.

The single biggest step you can take is to publish new content in the form of articles, case studies or podcast transcripts. Search engines continue to reward new content, so keep this in mind if your goal is to attract more organic traffic.

Retargeting Campaigns

Estimates say that 75% to 85% of people who visit your site will never return. You’ve dedicated time and resources to get visitors on your site, but without staying top of mind, they are off exploring other websites – perhaps even your competitors’ websites.

We’ve all experienced retargeting campaigns. You might be casually shopping for a new bike helmet, and suddenly those helmets start popping up wherever you go online. You can do the same thing with your own products and services. Most companies target recent website visitors for a period of 15 to 30 days. For manufacturers that have longer sales cycles, you might consider “following” them around for longer.

There are several tools that make retargeting campaigns super easy to implement. Our two favorites are Google Ads and AdRoll.

Pay-Per-Click Ads with Google and Bing

Google Ads is a great way to capture the attention of website visitors who are doing some serious shopping, so to speak. Pay-per-click ads send you straight to the top of a search results page. For potential customers who are looking to take quick action, this is probably the best way to drive serious traffic to your website and convert them quickly.

The caveat to this is that will take some testing to nail down the exact targeting in order to get results.

Pro Tip: Digital advertising on Google places you at the top of a search results page, getting your brand in front of potential customers immediately.

Submit Guest Articles to Industry Publications

When you’re an expert in a particular area, don’t be shy about it! In addition to publishing helpful articles on your website, we suggest contacting industry blogs or publications about submitting guest content. This is what’s known as “earned media” and it’s a great way to demonstrate thought leadership. It helps build your brand and prove you are a trusted source within your industry.

Submit Guest Articles to Industry Publications

Email is one of our favorite ways to generate a noticeable uptick in traffic to your website. If it’s a warm audience composed of past and current customers, you can ensure top of mind awareness through emails. A cold email list of prospects that you have acquired from, say, a trade show can be nurtured over time to build awareness for your brand.

Increasing the traffic to your website is the first step to generating results if you want a larger customer base. Contact us if you have questions about these strategies.

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Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Marketing is an important business activity that many business owners push to the back burner.  When clients are calling and questions need answered, it’s easy to say “I’ll do that tomorrow.” As the firm’s managing partner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.  You’re...

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The Current State of Marketing and Sales

The Current State of Marketing and Sales

The Current State of Marketing and Sales

Buying Behavior is Changing Rapidly

Consumer buying behavior is changing constantly, depending on the latest devices, technology or economic conditions. As professional marketers I believe it’s our job to have a pulse on this buying behavior. It’s our job to sift through the information and distill it in a way that helps your organization make more informed marketing, sales and business decisions.

Things have been unfolding at a rapid pace the past few weeks. Let me share a few insights that we’ve garnered from conversations and other resources:

  • In general, internet traffic has increased by roughly 50 percent.
  • Organic traffic and conversions are a bit of a mixed bag. It really depends on the industry.
  • The pandemic is rapidly shifting buying behavior. There’s obviously been an uptick in online purchases and 13 percent of consumers are using this opportunity to discover new brands.
  • The cost of digital ads like those on Facebook or Google Ads has fallen significantly. We’re seeing some clicks cost as little as three cents.

With some industries booming and others at a standstill, you might be wondering what your marketing and sales looks like in the coming months. In my last article, I wrote about the importance of continuing to market, but I want to take a closer look at what exactly that means.

Right now, experts and economist predict that consumer spending will resume anywhere within three to 18 months. You should be working now to prepare for that uptick because the most successful organizations see big wins during the upswing, not when the economy is at its peak.

Selling When Few Are Buying

For many industries, now is not the time to sell. Simply put, many companies are not making purchases – or at least large purchases outside of immediate COVID-19 needs.

Rather than selling, focus on building relationships. If you look at any sales cycle, cultivating initial rapport with a lead or prospect is step number one. Building rapport is nothing more than making a connection with someone and establishing a relationship – that’s what you need to work on right now.

In the near term, your goal should be to remain top of mind. Demonstrate that you’ll be available when the customer or client is ready to buy.

Strengthening Your Marketing

If you’re not generating significant sales right now, strengthening your marketing should be a priority. Here are a few steps to take.

Revisit your target market. I harp on this one quite a bit, even when business is smooth sailing. Remember that the best marketers have a strong understanding of their audience. Use this time to clarify who you need to reach and how.

Identify your ROI positive channels. Rand Fishkin used this phrase in his latest Whiteboard Friday and it perfectly sums up how to approach any active marketing campaigns.

You don’t want to blanketly cut your budget. Instead understand what’s working and what’s not. Analyze specific campaigns or keywords to understand what can be temporarily paused and what can continue to run so you maintain visibility.

Continue to leverage your subscriber list. This is another thing I harp on constantly on our podcast! Your subscriber list is your biggest marketing asset. Make sure you remain in communication with the individuals who actively want to hear from you.

Use this time to educate and prepare for future marketing. If you are slower than usual, it’s a great time to educate yourself on channels or tools that you’re not actively using. Maybe that’s Google AdWords or YouTube. You don’t need to become an expert, but it’s wise to have a basic working knowledge of the tools available.

Now is also a great time to revisit your past content and understand what can be updated or re-purposed. Ensure your content is ready when people start buying again because they will, and they’ll be looking for thought leaders like you.

Many organizations don’t know how to market during times of uncertainty.  If you have questions or want to discuss next steps, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Marketing is an important business activity that many business owners push to the back burner.  When clients are calling and questions need answered, it’s easy to say “I’ll do that tomorrow.” As the firm’s managing partner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.  You’re...

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Marketing During COVID-19: Advice and Best Practices

Marketing During COVID-19: Advice and Best Practices

Marketing During COVID-19: Advice and Best Practices

Organizations Can Not Only Survive, But Thrive 

In April of 2009, I took a crazy leap of faith and started Hersh PR and Marketing. I was 23 years old, essentially fresh out of college and I had no idea how the Great Recession would play out. Fast forward to 2020 and it’s become clear that many of the lessons I learned in the early years of my business can be dusted off and applied once again. Unexpected events such as floods, earthquakes or epidemics can rattle even the most prepared business. The events that have unfolded in the past several weeks have demonstrated that it’s important to have well-document strategies for your business that are based on sound data and can be revised quickly as economic conditions shift. During this time, I suggest that you have the right individuals participating during your internal conversations about business strategy and marketing. Be mindful that your initial reactions can and will affect the perception of your organization and it’s smart to have an external (third-party) voice participate in these conversations.

Don’t Exploit the Situation

I’m not a fan of (extreme) fear-based marketing tactics* and now is certainly not the time to capitalize on people’s fear. Attempting to make a quick buck as a result of COVID-19 is extremely short-sighted. Play the long game (more on that below) and be very mindful of the messages you’re distributing.

Don’t Stop Marketing

It’s easy to “turn off” your marketing. It’s extremely difficult to rebuild your momentum when you attempt to turn it back on. Studies going as far back as the 1920s indicate the advantages of maintaining or even increasing your marketing budget during a weak economy.

The relative noise level in your particular industry might drop as competitors cut their budget, creating an opportunity for you. This is also a great time to project stability and strength.
As my long-time business advisor Ron Finkelstein said, “I’ve seen companies cut marketing in times of crisis and it’s the single biggest mistake they can make.”

Think Long-Term

It might be tempting to focus time and money into short-term sales and promotions. But for many businesses that’s either not an option or could result in long-term damage to their brand. Consider retailers like J. Crew and Banana Republic. During the Great Recession, they conditioned consumers to never-ending sales. Ten years later they continue to struggle to sell items at full price. For many of Hersh PR’s service-based business clients, offering discounts would immediately cheapen the brand. Right now, it’s wise to focus on brand-building initiatives that support your mission. Remember that clients will return and will be in need of your products and services.

Flex Your Creative Muscles

Over the past week, I’ve witnessed some incredibly creative marketing – virtual bingo on Instagram, video trainings and businesses supporting those out of work. Now is the time to flex your creative muscles. Try something you’ve been thinking about for ages but didn’t have the time to implement. Create the video you’ve been brainstorming, but perhaps held-off because you wanted the production value to be “perfect.” Leverage the resources you have and market heavily to your existing clients. They need, and probably want to hear from you.

Many organizations don’t know how to market during times of uncertainty.  If you have questions or want to discuss next steps, don’t hesitate to contact us.

*Generating action such as a phone call or a sale from potential clients will involve a level of healthy fear. For example, you can give clients a feeling of exclusivity without using doom and gloom.

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Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Marketing is an important business activity that many business owners push to the back burner.  When clients are calling and questions need answered, it’s easy to say “I’ll do that tomorrow.” As the firm’s managing partner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.  You’re...

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7 Marketing Metrics Every Manufacturer Should be Tracking

5 Easy Ways to Generate More Website Traffic

5 Easy Ways to Generate More Website Traffic

5-easy-ways-to-generate-website-traffic
After your website has been designed (or redesigned) and been successfully launched, it’s everyone’s hope that visitors start flocking to it immediately. In reality, the concept of “build it and they will come” doesn’t always work. The Internet is a crowded place. You have to work hard to get your message and your brand in front of consumers. Even if you’re getting a decent amount of traffic to your site, the more (quality) traffic you generate will help increase the number of leads and conversions. Luckily, there are some fairly simple ways to actively drive more traffic to your website.

Generating More Traffic to Your Website

The first step in driving more traffic to your website is to identify your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? Who is your best potential customer? It’s recommended to create at least three different buyer personas/target audiences so you can align any type of advertising campaign with your target audience. Once you’ve pinpointed your personas, you can create customized campaigns designed to bring that audience to your website. Here are five easy ways to generate more website traffic:

Facebook Advertising

Facebook has made it simple to advertise to a very specific audience. While having an engaging Facebook page is an important element to your marketing efforts, you can also designate a modest budget for getting more clicks to your website with Facebook ads. Choose the option of “Clicks to Website” from Facebook ads manager, and you’ll easily be walked through the ad creation process.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising with Google AdWords

Using Google AdWords, you can set an advertising budget and only pay when people click on your ads. You’ll need to choose the proper keywords to bid on and create ad text around them. These ads will appear at the beginning of the Google search results page when people search for the terms you’ve identified.

Guest Blogging

When you’re an expert in something, lend your skills to others! Reaching out to provide a blog post on another reputable website will help lead visitors back to your own site while helping to build your brand and prove your expertise.

LinkedIn Pulse Articles

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet, and LinkedIn Pulse is their award-winning daily news application. Pulse allows members to publish and share content to reach their potential audiences at just the right time. As you’re writing and publishing your article, make sure to backlink to your website and your own blog.

Email Newsletters

Providing a monthly email newsletter is also a great way to drive more traffic to your website. Just one successful email blast can result in a nice uptick in traffic, and you can also provide a form on your website for visitors to easily subscribe. If you’re looking for more customers, increasing the traffic to your website is the first step to generating results. If you need help with any of these strategies, leave us a comment and we’ll be sure to respond!

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Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Marketing is an important business activity that many business owners push to the back burner.  When clients are calling and questions need answered, it’s easy to say “I’ll do that tomorrow.” As the firm’s managing partner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.  You’re...

read more

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5 Common Problems with SMB Websites + How to Fix Them

5 Common Problems with SMB Websites + How to Fix Them

5 Common Problems with SMB Websites + How to Fix Them

5-easy-ways-to-generate-website-traffic

Frequent Updates Help Generate Leads and Sales 

Your website is a critical touch point in your sales process, giving you the opportunity to connect with potential customers and demonstrate your ability to deliver an amazing service. Maintaining a website that connects with and converts leads is crucial to growing your business.

After building and maintaining hundreds of websites, we’ve seen several patterns emerge. Here are five common problems that can negatively affect your website’s performance. The good news is that these challenges are easy to solve with a little time and the proper resources.

A Website Left for Dead

As many small and medium businesses (SMBs) discover, managing and maintaining a website can be especially challenging if you don’t hire the right professional. Front-end content updates are essential to demonstrate your expertise. And technical support ensures your site remains up and running.

Without the proper assistance, many SMB websites are left for dead. But your website needs to do more than just exist! Your website is a tool that can communicate valuable information about your small business and your services. It’s easy to spot a website that hasn’t been touched: the graphics begin to look dated, blog content is old and the mobile experience is less than ideal.

How to Fix It: If you’re unable to hire an in-house professional, it’s best to outsource this work to a trusted partner, freeing up your internal team to focus on what they do best.

Zero On-Page Optimization

Optimizing for Google strengthens consumer trust and value. When a business ranks high in organic search results, it generates a certain level of trust, respect and credibility which are necessary for brands relying on digital channels for leads.

Visibility on the internet involves technical and creative and strategies to encourage traffic, leads and sales – but optimization isn’t one and done. It’s an ongoing task. While the frequency of these updates will be determined by the competitiveness of your specific niche/keywords, you must make this a priority.

How to Fix It: Make sure you periodically update on-page elements like title tags and meta descriptions. Keep the content (blogs and case studies) and imagery updated as well.

Not Giving Visitors a Reason to Stay on Your Site

Do the visitors of your website leave after just checking out a few articles or pages?

Do they spend significant amounts of time surfing your website?

A little more than half of all website visitors spend less than 15 seconds on any given website, and we obviously want these visitors to hang around longer than that.

Publishing original content such as blog articles, case studies, podcasts, videos or white papers gives visitors a reason to explore your website. As you build trust and credibility, your website becomes a more powerful sales tool for you. Search engines continue to reward new content, so keep this in mind if your goal is to attract more organic traffic.

How to Fix It: Develop a content strategy to position your SMB as a thought-leader. Commit to something manageable, even if it’s one new piece of content per month.

Missing a Clear Call to Action

For your website to capture conversions, you must include a relevant call to action (CTA) on every page. A call to action moves a customer closer to working with you. Potential customers won’t be inclined to take the next step if it’s unclear what they should do next.

Is the first step in your buyer’s journey educational? Perhaps they should download an eBook or review product specs.

Is your product highly customizable for the unique needs of each client? Perhaps you want to highlight case studies that demonstrate your ability to partner with customers and solve complex problems.

The journey to becoming a customer will be different for every business. It’s your job to test and understand what’s going to move them along.

How to Fix It: Make it clear and obvious what you want the website visitor to do. Include several different types of CTAs throughout your site. Measure and track your progress to see what performs the best.

Poor Mobile Experience

83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important and yet only 17% of websites are considered mobile friendly by Google.

When building your website, you must take into consideration all screen sizes and build it according to the latest responsive design standards. Now more than ever, people are accessing websites from their mobile devices. Today’s tech tools make it easy to build beautiful looking mobile websites that result in positive interactions with your brand. 

How to Fix It: Invest in mobile responsive design so your customers have the best experience on your website on their devices.

Next Steps for Your SMB

Remember that a website is always in development. The time and energy you spent on your current website was not wasted – it’s a great place to start. Now is the time to update your site so it converts leads and grows your business.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve website conversions. Have more questions about improving your website?  Reach out to us directly.

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated in April 2021.

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Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Marketing is an important business activity that many business owners push to the back burner.  When clients are calling and questions need answered, it’s easy to say “I’ll do that tomorrow.” As the firm’s managing partner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.  You’re...

read more

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goals with a 20-minute introductory call.

Why Website Content Matters + How to Update It

Why Website Content Matters + How to Update It

Why Website Content Matters + How to Update It

Content Provides Value and Supports Your Digital Strategy 

A well-rounded digital marketing strategy includes many elements. From paid ads to organic search engine marketing, your brand needs to be present and visible on numerous channels. However, there is an underlying component that fuels it all: content.

Content is arguably the most important component of your digital marketing and your website. It can set you apart from the masses by demonstrating your knowledge, expertise and capabilities. Other elements such as design, photography and video are important, but it’s the content that will speak directly to the customer’s needs and wants.

Content is also present in every step of the sales funnel. When your audience is looking for a solution to their problem, they seek professional insight in the form of blog articles, checklists or white papers. When your audience is closer to making a purchase, they will further explore your services, case studies or testimonials.

The bottom line is that along with having a great design for your website, it’s also vital that the information you’re providing is high-quality, relevant, and can convert visitors into qualified leads.

Quality Content on Your Website

What is quality content and how can it be incorporated into your website? It can take many forms but there are several elements that all high-quality content contains.

It Provides ValueYour audience wants a solution to their problem. To craft high-quality content, it’s necessary to understand exactly what your audience needs and wants. When you understand their pain points and goals, you can write content that directly addresses them.

It Has a Long LifespanThe term “evergreen content” refers to content that remains useful for many months or even years after its initial publish date. It can be shared many times over or repurposed into different formats like video and podcasts.

It Fuels Your Digital StrategyAs mentioned, content is the foundation for most digital marketing strategies. From email marketing to social media to PPC ads, you can attract and engage your ideal audience with the right content.

It Moves Your Audience Through the Sales FunnelGreat content can help you build relationships with an audience and inspire them to take action. Think about and craft content that is not only informational, but also inspiring, motivational and directs the reader to next steps.

Keep the Content on Your Website Updated

Actively maintaining the content on your website can be a significant undertaking. Everything ranging from blog articles to service pages need periodic updates. Unfortunately, many SMBs have an outdated website. A website should never be stagnant. An untouched site creates a disconnect for your audience and potentially harms the brand you’ve spent time building.

Publishing new content or updating existing content is well worth the investment. If it’s done correctly, you’ll see an improvement in your search rankings and improved engagement on your site. Here are several suggestions to ensure your content conveys the right message:

Update Older Pages and Articles

Posts and pages published years ago need periodic updates to ensure they remain evergreen. Updating statistics, timelines and major milestones ensures that you maintain your authority and trustworthiness as a source. Updating your pages/posts will also signal to search engines that a page is still relevant to searchers.

Revamp Your Keyword Strategy

Search intent and keyword trends are always changing. You should continually reassess your keyword strategy when updating your content. You might have pages ranking for keywords that no longer generate the search volume they once did. This could be an opportunity to refresh the content and target new keywords.

Create a Website Content Calendar

A documented content schedule will help you stay consistent with your updates. It can keep you focused on the content that’s relevant to your audience. You can also keep track of when pages and articles were last updated, or make note of new content ideas.

Final Thoughts

As search engines get smarter and buyers get more selective, your written message is more important than ever. As time consuming as it is, the dedication you give to updating your content contributes to short and long-term success. Your audience will appreciate the value you provide, and you’ll enjoy strong growth and conversion rates.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your website content. Have more questions about running successful marketing campaigns? Reach out to us directly.

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated in June 2021.

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10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

Automated emails are one of the best methods to nurture leads and convert them into paying customers. When you have an effective email campaign that provides significant amounts of value to those who follow your content, your organization can generate revenue with minimal ongoing effort.

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