ABCs of Getting Website Leads Regularly… Really!

If you answer yes to any of these website lead questions, be certain to keep on reading (You’ll thank me later for solving some very personal struggles that you may be having):

1. Does a website to obligate you to purchase?

2. A website is a “safe place” for customers, right?

3. A website is just information for research purposes, right?

4. A website won’t impact my sales significantly… Will it?

5. My customers aren’t online.

If you believe any one of those questions and statements are true (That a website can’t do that much in getting me website leads) Then, I am curious if these very personal questions are also true:

  • Are you giving it your all, but having minimal returns?
  • Are customers not answering when you call?
  • Are you burnt out?
  • Are referrals not calling?
  • Are mailings and billboards ad campaigns giving you dwindling returns?
  • Are you overcome by your competition?

Is your store gradually becoming more empty, void of customers, and finding your customer’s average age slowly growing older and older?

If you answered yes to some or most of those, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope. Try it (or rather try it again)–your website. But do it right this time around!!

Here’s Why and How

Most website leads will visit your website before they ever call a salesperson, answer their phone, or visit your storefront. You know this. Prompt your visitors and direct them to the best area of your website that will solve their problem. The beautiful thing is that rather than interrupting your customers from their routine with a phone call, they freely explore your website instead.

Today, we know that a smart website will offer irresistible items, services, or solutions so that visitors will take some action. All in all, let us utilize your website so it becomes the lead generation machine that builds enticement as the customers continue to explore. It is a process, here’s how to start…

Don’t Give-Up too Soon

Realize that 63% of visitors inquiring about a brand are not going to buy anything within first 3 months and 1 in every 5 users will need a full year before proceeding to checkout. So, lead generation and conversion is a long process involving patience, multiple channels and consistent efforts. There are tested and tried ground rules and principles that you should follow to convert your website into a robust lead generation machine. Let us explain them here. It isn’t rocket science.

Finally, the ABCs of Getting Leads from your Website

A. Attention-grabbing and clear messaging…

Wouldn’t you like steady sales conversions? You can get this by always addressing the customer’s needs with concise and clear messaging. Our customers are busy, we are busy… Why would we spend more than five seconds on a website if it doesn’t propose a solution for customer needs? Listen carefully here: a website should clearly answer 3 customer questions within the first five seconds.

1.  What are you offering? As soon as a visitor lands on a webpage it should clearly explain what you offer, and what the users can expect from the respective website or web page.

2.  Show and tell of how your offering will make their lives better. You need to clearly explain how it will make their lives better before the visitor finds himself in an indecisive and confusing situation.

3. Show them how to take action. Push users towards activities like buying or choosing to get alerts for similar content. Explain the benefits of taking such actions and the steps to take such actions.

B. Beckon those customers on the fence by…

If your customers are bulking at your main service. Offer them a smaller service to get introduced to your business. Offer them a piece of the puzzle. But only if it will help solve their needs. Don’t water down your product to something that won’t work for them. Give them only what will work. Just give them enough so they can feel the value and experience it working for them. This “trail” of sorts will do the selling for you. So grab your pencil and write an attention-grabbing statement, place it on a button that stands out. Then make a webpage that is all about that solution—that piece of the puzzle. Making it time sensitive will help.

C. Create an instantly engaging landing page and CTA…

1. State your customer’s challenge/problem/concern/struggle. Include in less than a sentence how you address/resolve their challenge.

2. Showcase studies on how and what customers you have helped. I’ll be writing about this in a later article. But this section should detail what you did to solve the challenge for the customer. What product of yours did the customer buy? What service did the client get from you? If you helped the customer choose their solution, share how and why you guided them toward that particular solution.

3. Results: This is where the rubber meets the road. What did your solution do for the client? What was the ultimate benefit to them? Share that story here in the “Results'” section. Did the customer save money by switching to your product? Did the client save time by using your service? How much?

4. Most importantly, in this section, you should include a customer testimonial. Don’t just tell your audience what results your customer got with your product or service – let the customer tell them.

5. Include a Call to Action (CTA). An example of a subtle CTA would be a footer at the bottom of the case study with your contact information. An example of a bold CTA would be, “Want these results for YOUR business? Contact Jonathan Francis for more information about qualifying your leads. 570-486-5566 or [email protected]

D. Determine your contact form will be short and easy to fill out…

Contact forms of all types whether from websites or from landing pages should be simple and easy to fill out. The contact form should ask for minimum information your business team require to follow up the customers. For some form fields, you should opt for auto-filling of the forms based on the information received through the login data or previous inputs. Shorter the contact form is, more engagement you can expect from the users.

Allowing predictive text to fill up multiple fields where the user needs to write some text is extremely important to maintain the ease and user-friendliness. Apart from filling up forms with ease social media login is time-saving and easy for the user.

E. Engaging website visitors again after they have left…

Do you know 3 out of 4 customers now see retargeted ads (meaning customers who have come and gone see specific Google or Facebook ads catered to them specifically)? Retargeting matters and that is why a substantial portion of marketers give it so much importance. For any website visitor who didn’t take action on your website show them countless ads on Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc. Get their attention again and bring them to your website again. Get them back to the specific product or service that they viewed. This is retargeting. It isn’t difficult. It isn’t rocket science. It happens when you are sleeping and your customers are researching. It works.

Finally…

If you found a bit of insight, please let me know below.


5 Trends in Influencer Marketing That will Dominate 2018 and Beyond

The reach of digital ads are all but snuffed out by the common ad blockers– resulting in very close to zero impressions of that ad. The alternative, if you look around (and it is hard to ignore these days), is the number of online buyers being influenced by recommendations and opinions of other friends, family, and celebrities (both in Hollywood and out. Industry experts and the familiar face).

According to Hubspot, more than 70% of online consumers now make a purchase by getting influenced by a social media reference. According to Twitter, 40% of Twitter users say they made purchase influenced directly by a tweet.

 

The person with the high follower count (at least 100k) has a significant influence. These influencers vary from industry stalwarts to niche experts to people with significant following and celebrities. They can quickly turn a conversation, draw the attention of thousands and drive opinions in favor of something. We call it influencer marketing.

 

But even influencer marketing evolved a lot as marketers continued to take advantage of this. Here we have tried to summarize some of the critical trends of influencer marketing for the coming year and beyond.

 

  1. Influencer marketing will surpass other channels

 

Influencer marketing as of now has proved itself to be the budget solution with most effective results to reach and engage the target audience. This is why all small and medium business brands who are not in the position to afford expensive media ads succumbed to influencer marketing. But as their success almost set a robust trend, almost all major brands across the niches are also now stepping in to reap the benefits of influencers. With the influencers showing their credible power to make or break a brand’s reputation, in the time to come, they can actually surpass all other channels.  

 

  1. Evaluating the metrics will be crucial

 

If you think influencer marketing is just a low-cost alternative to traditional media ads and marketing channels, you are terribly mistaken. In fact, influencer marketing is popular principally because it is easy to evaluate and track results. As you continue your investigation of influencer marketing, start also considering how you will track the success of this campaign as well. There is an array of sophisticated tools and software that allow businesses to track the results if each influencer marketing campaign especially if you are using a digital medium like email, website, video, etc. Using a free tool, Google Analytics, you can see exactly where your viewership originated from, their demographics, and much, much more.

 

  1. Influencers are going to charge a premium

 

A Tap Influencer study revealed that close to 70% of influencers find earning as their main source of motivation. So, those days of getting recommended and discussed for free are practically over.

 

By far, influencer marketing has been cheaper compared to most other channels. But as more brands including tons of reputed and globally acclaimed ones are eagerly going after niche influencers if their niche, influencers are increasingly gaining the weight and reputation of separate personal brands just as celebrities. Naturally, with a growth of this channel, we can find influencers more sought after charging a premium for lending their weight behind a campaign. We can see influencers to grow as key movers in many big budget online campaigns and that is not going to be cheap as before.

 

Here is what one source suggests for cost–Digiday suggests paying $1000 to an Instagram influencer who has 100,000 followers. In some cases, however, if that influencer is particularly motivated by your brand, they do it at no charge.

 

  1. The phenomenal growth of B2B influencers

 

Influencer marketing is mostly seen as an emerging channel to influence the opinion of consumers through social media and other touchpoints. But despite that, there are many B2B marketers who successfully leveraged influencers for their business audience. When B2B marketers take help of this channel it is rather common to partner influencers and at the same time launching campaigns on business-specific channels like LinkedIn. Solutions like Buzzsumo has become particularly popular for B2B influencer marketing. In contrast to influencer marketing for the consumers B2B influencer marketing focus on building long-term partnerships with valuable industry influencers.

 

  1. The rise of micro-influencers

 

Who are the influencers you really count upon when spreading your brand message? Obviously, the people whose opinion holds real value for your target audience should be the right influencers for your business. Now, depending on your business niche and audience there can be several options including industry-recognized stalwarts to influencers who can make a difference within a limited number of audience. While the first can be more expensive and not easily available, often the other option proves effective and easily reachable. We call these second group of people as micro influencers. Typically with less than 100,000 followers and a limited budget for outreach ,they can quickly deliver a great campaign.

 

Micro influencers are getting popular as they enjoy neat microspheres of followers seeking an opinion. These Micro influencers are more likely to represent a niché speciality. Marketers can choose micro influencers as per the suitability of their campaign in respect of audience and outreach. Often such influencers can be quickly engaged without actually making a professional offer. Even when you need to pay them for their output, it is never an expensive deal.  

 

Apart from all the above, influencer marketing in the time to come will also observe a rapid growth of tools and software to make the job influencing much easier. What was just merely about creating buzz has now become a standalone and sought after marketing channel. Influencer marketing will continue to grow and gain influence for everyone in the years ahead.

SEO – Silent Electronic Opportunity

Often, those most impactful activities, the ones that have the highest impact on your productivity, tend also to be those that sit silently, perhaps unnoticed as your growth weans. We let the loudest tasks get done first, the phone ringing gets answered, the text notification buzzes and is attended to. We have these puppet strings that are controlling our attention and destroying our growth. All the while, the most valuable task that gets 50% of our results is let to lay dormant for another day. So another day of being busy rather than productive passes away. If your business is weaning and not getting noticed, those sales calls have slowed, then let me suggest something that given three months will show dramatic changes in your business.
If you are not within the top 15 results on Google, then SEO (Search Engine Optimization) on your website is one such task that you have swept under the rug and let day dormant. If you were to ask how is my website investment benefiting me at the moment? You would find an answer that you would not like to become public. Stop wasting this opportunity. Start getting 2-5x leads.
SEO doesn’t have to be an elephant that you cannot tackle. Let’s break it down into three smaller pieces.

1. Content & Keyword Optimization

Great content, information, stories will get found if they are listed on the Internet. However, they will get found more readily when you use these quick guidelines.
You can read the long article at https://yoast.com/complete-guide-seo-copywriting/, But if you are pressed for time, some quick takeaways are (certainly not a complete list, however):
a. Research your keywords. Use google trends, semrush, keyword planners, etc. But don’t fail to actually type your keyword into Google yourself. More insight can be found at https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/keyword-research
b. We suggest at minimum 300 words on each page of your website. Too little content does not give much of a context for Google to crawl.
c. Including your keyword or phrase only about twice in a three hundred word article makes the article very readable and doesn’t make it seem like you are trying to hard to trick Google.
d. Each page of your site should have its own unique keyword/phrase. Dedicate each page to an individual keyword/phrase.
e. Include headers as you are creating the structure of the article. One of those headers should have your keyword phrase included.
f. When you include images in the article, caption them and if you are already familiar with the title and alt tags, fill those out and try and use the keyword phrase.
Please also make sure that the readability of the article does not suffer because of placing these keyword phrases. If you absolutely can’t add those keywords to a title, then it is better not to include them and rather include them elsewhere. So you make up for not having that keyword in a critical area.

2. Onsite Optimization 

The goal here is to allow the search engine to consume and digest the site structure under the hood readily. Search engines just need to “get it” without crunching too many numbers. You should have your keywords, meta descriptions, etc prepared for this step. To execute this, you need to lift open the hood of your website and peek into the code. No way around it. Give this task to a programmer, and they will show you some hidden issues. Focus them on H1s, H2s, Meta Descriptions, Image Alt tags, and the first paragraph of the page. Once the programmer has it all set up (including page speediness), then if you are using WordPress, you can use some very friendly tools to tweak your keywords, page titles, and content very easily.

3. Off-site Optimization 

You have to get other websites mentioning your website. These “backlinks” will help to increase your website’s authority.
Guest posting, social media syndication, and influencer marketing are all tactics you can use to get your content in front of more people and widen your authoritative reach–but remember, it all starts with good content.
I hope this inspires you to kick-off your research and start optimizing your website correctly and with clarity rather than whittling away your investment. If you are not in the top 15, then this is one of your high priority tasks.

Five Deciding Factors of When to Migrate into Magento 2 (Finally)

Let’s lay some groundwork, “Why should I invest in upgrading? Why add this extra cost? Why is upgrading a priority over other operational initiatives?”

Remember back when you first made that decision to go with Magento? Let’s revisit some of those together here. Magento was built as a flexible platform. This is really its defining feature. Users can create stores with a variety of functions using pre-made extensions or by creating custom solutions. This is the beauty of a platform like Magento and that’s the reason it’s so popular. Not to mention the vast pre-built extendabilities build-in. Do these all sound very familiar to you of why you made the switch to Magento in the first place?

Unfortunately, focusing on flexibility didn’t make it the most user-friendly, high-performing platform. There were important tools missing such as performance optimization, mobile-responsiveness, and admin capabilities. In the past, users would have to go to third-party companies to get essential features.

In addition, there have been many complaints of Magento 1.x running slow (meaning lower sales, conversions and traffic). In response to this, experts have determined what makes Magento sites run faster, but this still couldn’t change the issue of core speed. To address these issues, the Magento team designed an upgraded platform: Magento 2.

Now, Let's talk about is it the right time to Migrate?

Magento 1.x is only supported until 2018.
No new features have been added to Magento 1.x since the release of Magento 2.x (Nov 2015).
You will only compound your debt load by continually patching Magento 1.x. It will continue to be more costly to maintain and enhance in the future if you stick with Magento 1.x. You will continue to drop on sales and conversions.
Developers will now be focused on Magento 2.x extensions, not upgrading or creating Magento 1.x extensions. You will lose perceived relevancy among your customers.
BuiltWith.com reports that there are more than 7715+ Websites already using Magento 2.x. The bugs have been all worked out.
In a Nutshell, “Yes, It’s the right time to Migrate from Magento 1.x to Magento 2.x.”

What's that? Did I hear some reservations about making the switch? I am encouraging you now to voice that and let me know!

Five Healthcare Marketing Myths: HIPPA Asphyxiation

1) Emailing appointment reminders are prohibited by HIPPA regulations.  Answer: FALSE

I hear a common trend among provider’s. It’s their paralyzing concern that email appointment reminders are practically prohibited by HIPAA. Cutting through the hype, we find that HIPAA themselves show exactly how straight forward emailing PHI to patients actually has been afforded to providers simply (See HIPPA’s FAQ on this exact subject: http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/faq/570/does-hipaa-permit-health-care-providers-to-use-email-to-discuss-health-issues-with-patients/index.html).

2) HIPPA Compliant Email is Cost Prohibitive.  Answer: FALSE

Have you bought into the hype that complying with HIPAA email transmission rules are cost prohibitive for my practice? Francis Ventures provides HIPAA compliant email that competes with Google’s $10 per month business class email service and even handles email encryption to patients. Finally, upon request, we provide automatic patient verification of their email. This is possible by signing our Business Associate Agreement (BAA), and using our documented system for handing email (need to know, etc)

3) A website create greater HIPPA risk exposure. Answer: FALSE

Will website will create a greater HIPAA risk exposure? Not necessarily.  Francis Ventures established HIPAA compliant websites that encrypt data in transit and at rest. We also implement and document website hosting features that meet HIPAA requirements for auditing, back-ups, and disaster recovery. This enables your practice to easily implement common web based technologies to automate your marketing and business practices. Your patient retention will go up, your missed appointments will go down, and the time to reschedule and schedule will also go down.

4) My practice can’t market services to patients digitally. Answer: FALSE

The myth of HIPPA saying no to using PHI to market services to patients digitally just isn’t true. HIPAA encourages a provider to obtain prior written authorization to market to a patient with non face-to-face communications. However, there are two more exceptions to that rule from HITECH.

5) My patients aren’t using the Internet.  Answer: FALSE

Myth — My patients are baby boomers and living in rural America, they don’t check email or research online. Well, study after study shows just how baby boomers use the Internet:

94% use the internet for e-mail
77% shop online
71% are looking for health information
70% use the internet to read news
FINALLY

When implementing these available avenues of marketing, remember some foundational rules. Do not call baby boomers old. Following through on your word is king. Keep your website easy to read and to navigate through (minimum font size is 12 point!), and finally use age appropriate graphics.

Getting Found Through Voice Search — Hey Siri, Play me a Song

Thanks to Apple’s wonderful marketing we have all used Siri, or some type of digital assistant. Most of us have at least done fun or silly searches. My own kids crack up when they ask Siri what her favorite color is, but seriously, this is going to change the future of business marketing as we know it…

Public vs. Private Usage
While many of us are embarrassed to use Siri or a voice assistant in public, it is guesstimated as many as 20% of people use them regularly in private (in the car, at home, while your hands are dirty/greasy). While Apple is sitting tight on how much Siri is actually used, they recently just hired an employee or multiple employees with the job description of giving Siri much more personality.
If you’d like the specifics on the ubiquity of siri, check out thenextweb.com (for more on Siri, Google Now, and Cortana Microsoft use in public)
Multitasking is at an all time high, and all of us at work, home, or on vacation pressed to do much more faster, and connect quickly; it comes as no surprise that we are using digital assistants much more than ever before.

The digital world is gearing up for this explosion of new ways of searching more quickly. It will narrow the funnel and get our customer to reaching our more specific niche easier.

Getting found with voice search 
What does this mean for any business? How will this affect how we market our businesses? How do we get our sites, brands, or products updated so we are at the top of our SEO (search engine optimization), and ready for this shift in the digital world?
Let’s understand a little of what is going on here, I’ll try not to get too technical….I leave that up to my husband at Francis Ventures 😉
Siri is basically getting a brain update and will be more in tuned to what her customers actually want. Google+, Google+ Local, and Google Now are using more predictive searches, they are gathering information from our location, searches, Gmail, google calendar, google +, google finance, and interactive posts. Your digital assistant will be taking all these bits of information and more easily giving you the answers to your questions or finding the specific information you want faster.
There is so much information, so as a business how do we sort this all out?
Here are a few tips to get us started being found, so we can meet a need, fulfil our niche, and gain customers or growth.

Three tips for voice search to use your website

1.  Customer focus on how they are searching for you
First, we need to get found when people are looking for us or a service we provide. We will start focusing more on customer orientation and less on page orientation. How are our customers searching for us? What questions will they be asking to find us? We will be going through voice searches looking for common pronunciation errors and making sure our business will be found. This is especially important for a business that doesn’t have English names, as mispronunciation may happen more often.

2. Customers are using natural voice patterns
The next main thing to remember is that our customers are using natural voice language and not typing their request in a search like Google. We need to set ourselves up to be found when they ask, “Where should I get my nails done?” vs. typing in a search “Nail Salon.” With voice search we will be using longer tail queries, and question based searches. Another example of this is when you search for a home for sale, Siri or your digital assistant could open Twitter and show you homes for sale through that app. There are many possibilities depending on the specifics or your brand, company, or product and who you are trying to reach.

Google Search Statistics

Customer Searches for local businesses online 97%
Searches are affected by Geo-location or location specific searches 69%
Searches through Google are for local information 20%

3. Location, Location, Location
Voice searches like Siri, Cortana, Google Now all use location and time as a key element when searching quickly for what is most relevant. Make your location clear to the search engine is a necessary step. Making your businesses purpose and authority clear to the search engine is crucial.
Which brings us to the next thing of taking a step back and understanding how customers or consumers interact across all their devices. Once we have an understanding of how they search for things and how they are finding our products, or services then we are well on the the last step of making a strong connection with them and being found in all this information!
Maybe you need to make some pins on Pinterest, maybe it is time make your own company app to inform the voice search engine. Maybe it as simple as getting yourself found by adjusting your links, spellings, backend structuring, navigational structure and adjusting how your brand shows up in voice searches. Keyword optimization is going to be even more important, as well as negative keywords that are relevant to your service, brand or company.

Let’s use this information and shift in the digital world to do what we love better and easily connect with more people!

G.J. Francis

Identifying Your Digital Maturity: From Youthful Adolescence to Scholarly Adulthood

Each step in maturing a website is a must. Remember in the days of your adolescence? adolescence in the late 80’s for me was full of life and adventure. But when I look back at those family photos, I find it embarrassing. Why is that? Why would anyone be embarrassed at who they were?

Step 1: Adolescence

Would you rather skip adolescence? Would you rather skip the first launch of your website and just launch it three iterative steps closer to maturity? I would have said yes. But is this wise?
Early on, we had protection with being around mostly our family and a smaller sphere of friends. Our influence was small, so we had an opportunity to learn, have fun and ultimately grow.  If you’re going to make mistakes (and you will), make them early on. If you’re going to forget to learn of your target audience’s pain points, then realize it quickly and learn quickly so you can grow quicker.
If you skip the adolescence step of a website, you’ll realize later on, much later, that your business is failing because of a few critical mistakes that were never uncovered early-on. Taking small steps towards a larger goal is very wise advice. You’ll grow quicker in the end if you taking steps and not leaps.

Just like you may look back at the start of your website. Perhaps the tagline was off and mistargeting customers. Perhaps the colors were less refined than you’d have liked. Perhaps the content did not speak.
For example look at Apple’s first website, what do they sell? And Amazon, what’s up with the river of books? Some other examples include TheFacebook and Twitter. Take a look below at some screen captures of these major business’ first website!

Step 2: Young Adulthood

Remember when we were all young adults? We wanted to reach out and connect with others. We wanted to see what the world can offer. Just like being a young adult, a business’ website reaches the same stage. Where, we want to reach out and connect with others digitally. We want more leads coming to our door step. Now we are connecting with others in a slightly more coordinated method. But we don’t yet know what works. Tactics in this stage aren’t cohesive, nor are they sophisticated.

Step 3: Young Family

We aren’t mature yet–but at least we realize it. We may have finally realized that the world isn’t going to offer us much… Rather we have so much to offer the world. It is more fulfilling to give than to get.
Just like those sentiments, a digital website should be serving the customers. It should be helping the pain points of customers and leads. The website should be addressing and anticipating customers problems. At this stage, a business learns how best to nurture leads.

Step 4: Nurturing Adult / Family.

By this stage, we are attracting leads to our site. We have reached these leads by numerous methods: print media, social media channels, blogs, newsletters, etc. They’ve been drawn to our site in hopes to solve their problem. We resonated with their problems and we can help solve those problems.
We have retained their attention. Perhaps they’ve used our services already. Perhaps they have returned several times. We are now engaging them digitally on a regular basis. We are on the cusp of turning them into a brand advocate.

Step 5: Scholar

Now that your website is helping your target audience (addressing their problems), knowing who and where your audience has been on your website last week, a month ago; knowing what devices that they are using to view your website; knowing that they are receiving emails and being reached on social media channels with the exact information of their interest. You now are converting customers into lifelong brand partners.
Now that you know where you and your website stand, feel free to comment below (tips, advice). If you’re ready to take the next step, but need some hints, the comment section is open to you as well.