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Travis … you are right. What I saw was 03.13.2014-15.39 – tvanslooten’s library (http://screencast.com/t/BxJyjej4fj). I’m surprised that when you…

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WordPress MultiSite Subdomains on MAMP

Developing WordPress sites on a local MAMP server provides flexibility, privacy, and security throughout the development process. Setting up a WordPress environment on MAMP is definitely worth the effort, especially if you’re building and testing multiple sites using WordPress’ built-in MultiSite functionality.

The easiest and recommended way of setting up WordPress MultiSite is to use sub-directories. So when you create a new site named “business”, it will be located at http://localhost/business/. Here’s a mini-tutorial on how to use sub-domains for your network sites.

Edit Mac hosts file

After installing MAMP, change the default Apache port to 80. Next, add your sub-domains to the Mac hosts file. To do this, open Terminal and type “sudo pico /etc/hosts” (without the quotes), and then enter your password at the prompt. Use the arrow keys to scroll down to the end of the hosts file and add the following lines:

127.0.0.1       example.com
127.0.0.1       site1.example.com
127.0.0.1       site2.example.com

Edit these entries to match the domain and sub-domains that you want to create with MultiSite. Add as many sub-domains as needed, now or later. Then save the file and exit by typing Ctrl+O, Enter, and then Ctrl+X.

Edit Apache config file

The next step is to add virtual hosts to your Apache configuration file. Open /Applications/MAMP/conf/apache/httpd.conf in a text editor and scroll down to the line that says “#NameVirtualHost *”. Replace that line with the following code:

NameVirtualHost *
<virtualHost *>
 ServerName example.com
 ServerAlias example.com *.example.com
 DocumentRoot "/Applications/MAMP/htdocs/"
 <directory "/Applications/MAMP/htdocs/">
  Options Indexes FollowSymLinks Includes
  AllowOverride All
  Order allow,deny
  Allow from all
 </directory>
</virtualHost>

Change each instance of example.com to match your domain, save the file, and then Restart Apache by clicking “Stop” and then “Start” in the MAMP control panel.

Intall & configure WordPress

Now to install WordPress by placing the WordPress installation files in your /htdocs/ directory, creating the database via phpMyAdmin (@ http://localhost/MAMP/), and editing wp-config.php with your database credentials. Then complete the install process by accessing http://example.com/wp-admin/install.php in your browser.

Next, enable MultiSite by adding the following line to your wp-config.php file, just above the line that says, “That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging”:

define('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);

With that in place, return to the WP Admin and click on Tools > Network. On this page you will now see an option to use sub-domains for your site addresses. Make sure that’s selected, check the other details, and then click the “Install” button to make it happen. Note that you’ll see a warning message that says, “Wildcard DNS may not be configured correctly!” – we can ignore this warning because we know our DNS is correct.

Finally, complete the steps outlined there on the “Enabling the Network” page (i.e., create a blogs.dir folder and add the required code snippets). After that, re-login to the Admin area and go to Network Admin > Sites > Add New to begin adding your sub-domain network sites.

That’s it! You’re now rolling tuff with WordPress subdomains on a local MAMP development server. The sky’s the limit!

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buyer behavior has changed, create educational content for your prospectsI have been at a conference for the past few days with sixty digital and inbound marketing agency owners.  During lunch, one of the owners mentioned the “thirty magical marketing touches” required to get people to buy. You may have also heard that, historically, most marketers think it takes seven touches to get a prospect to buy. That got me thinking – there really isn’t anything magical about when people buy, and perhaps a blog post about buying might be helpful.

Since buyer behavior has changed so dramatically over the past few years, and the internet has empowered all of our buyers with the information they think they need to make sound purchase decisions, our marketing and sales processes must be adjusted accordingly.

No one buys anything until pain becomes acute. Think about your own buyer behavior. You know it’s true.

Now, apply what you learned in college marketing about reach and frequency: Tell as many people as possible, as many times as possible, about your business, and when they need it (their pain is acute), they will remember you and buy from you.

That’s fine if you’re Pepsi, Coors or Acura, but not if you are any reasonable business with a limited marketing budget and a CEO who wants to know how many leads you generated this month.

If you want to get your prospects to buy, you have to press their “buy button.” The only way to do this is to make them feel safe. In fact, the buy button is controlled by the same part of the brain that controls the fight-or-flight reflex. Again, think about your own buyer behavior. How do you feel when you’re approached by a sales person? Not great, right? You want to avoid creating that feeling for your prospects.

Educate, advise, counsel and coach your prospects instead of trying to sell to them.
This aligns perfectly with inbound marketing, content marketing, email marketing and many of the digital marketing tactics being deployed by innovative inbound marketing firms.
When you create compelling, helpful, creative educational content, you should post it to your website, share it on social media, publish it on relevant websites and marry that content with a well-designed conversion strategy.

The next step in pressing that buy button is to nurture those leads effectively. By continuing the educational conversation with them and by providing them with additional helpful information, you continue to make them feel safer and safer. By keeping them close to your company in a planned out and structured way, when their pains become acute (by the way, we never know when that pain becomes acute), they don’t search for companies like yours; rather, they slide down the sales funnel and ask to speak with you or someone on your team.

When you talk about getting people to buy, you can’t leave the sales team out of the conversation. One of the major challenges associated with changing the way you market your company is changing the way you sell to your prospects. If your marketing team is guiding and your sales team is selling, you have a disconnect. This is one of the fastest ways to push your prospects away. Consider mapping content directly into your sales process, and consider revamping your sales process so that it is designed to help your prospects make safe purchase decisions.

Start Today Tip – You need to make sure your marketing and sales efforts are designed to make your prospects feel safe, and that they deliver a remarkable experience to prospects in each stage of the sales funnel. Make sure your content maps directly to the questions your prospects are asking. This goes a long way towards putting you in a position to press your prospects’ buy buttons.

Michael Lieberman
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SEOIsDead resized 600I could have written, “SEO Is Dead,” and maybe that would have gotten me more views and more social shares, but that message has been delivered by other marketing firms over and over again. The point of this post is that you don’t DO search engine optimization anymore.

So, what do you do? In essence, search engine optimization has become a core part of all other inbound marketing tactics, so there is no need to DO SEO anymore.

Here is what I mean.

Marketing Strategy

Before you do anything, you have to establish your strategic plan around getting found. What keywords do you want your prospects to use to find your business? More importantly, what keywords are people currently using? There is often a disparity between the answers to those questions. Clients want to be found for keywords that no one is using. But, what’s more important today are the questions your prospects are asking. Google is moving to contextual search algorithms, which means people won’t be typing in keywords, but speaking to the search engine in long-form question format. This means your content and website have to answer specific questions if you want to get found.

Website Design And Build

When you build, update or work on maintaining your website, you have to make sure it is properly built, and this includes page titles, page subheads, url naming, meta tags, meta descriptions and a whole host of other best practices to help your website get found. But, this is all part of a properly designed and managed website project, not part of “doing” SEO.

Content Creation

When you create educational content and new copy for your prospects to download, you have to infuse keywords into this material. Take those same questions we discussed in the strategy section and make sure your content answers those questions directly. Make sure that you have educational content for the top, middle and bottom of the funnel, and make sure your conversion strategy matches up perfectly with prospects’ location in the buying process.

Blogging

If you want to get found, you have to blog. The more you blog, the higher you rank. Again, you have to know what keywords and questions you want to rank for and you have to use them in your blog titles, the first paragraph of your blog, the last paragraph of your blog, the meta tags and the meta descriptions. Make sure your blog has an image with the appropriate tags. Each new blog post you write provides a fresh and indexable page for Google to rank.

Video

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see how popular video is from a marketing perspective. People would much prefer to watch over read, and they are more likely to share a video, so make sure videos are an active part of your inbound marketing program. Make sure your videos answer specific questions and your keywords are included in the script. Did you know that Google scrapes the audio track from your videos in search of keywords? Make sure the tags and descriptions have your keywords. Make sure those videos are on YouTube and other video sharing sites.

Social Media

You won’t be ranked if you don’t pay attention to social media. Just because you ranked last month for a keyword doesn’t mean you are going to rank this month. You need to be creating content that people share. Shared data is a major component of Google’s Hummingbird upgrade. If your blog and other content isn’t getting shared, you’re not getting ranked.

Don’t think you are doing SEO because you have an SEO consultant, SEO expert or you tackle a couple of SEO tasks each month. If you’re not thinking about SEO as a broader element of your overall inbound marketing campaign, you are probably missing out on a significant amount of traffic to your website.

Start Today Tip – Put your efforts through a quick SEO audit. Does your SEO effort include socializing content, creating content, adding landing pages to your website, reworking copy on your website, using video and blogging? If it’s missing any of these elements, you should consider reallocating some of your budget into these areas.


Michael Lieberman
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Inbound Marketing AwardsI love the movies, so we thought it would be fun to give out a few Oscars for success in the field of inbound marketing and match those awards to the recent Academy Awards ceremony.

So, without any long monologues or fancy production numbers, let’s get right to the awards.

Best Picture – Given to the inbound marketing tactic that has had the biggest impact on our clients’ overall program performance during the past year. And the Oscar goes to … BLOGGING. If you want to get found on Google, Yahoo and Bing then you need to be blogging. The more you blog, the more website visitors you draw to your site. Our research and data across over 50 active clients shows that the clients who blog more than twice a week get all the traffic they need, while those who blog once a week or less often fail to meet their website visitor goals.

Best Actor – Given to the inbound marketing tactic that has had the biggest impact on one of our client’s programs over the past year. And the Oscar goes to … CONTENT SOURCING. Just as we mentioned in yesterday’s post, it’s not enough to create content for your website. You have to actively pitch that content to other sites where your target prospects spend their time online.

Trade group sites, LinkedIn groups, magazine sites, web community sites and blogs that appeal to your target audience are all good sources for your current content. Once you get a placement, the stream of new visitors to your site is hard to turn off, and that increase in traffic means an increase in leads.

Best Supporting Actress – Given to the inbound marketing tactic that has had the biggest supporting impact on one of our client’s programs over the past year. And the Oscar goes to … SOCIAL MEDIA. The more your content gets shared, the more new visitors find their way to your website. All of the major search engines are looking for content that gets shared.

Even more directly, content that gets shared drives traffic directly. If social media isn’t on your inbound marketing to-do list, you’re missing out. Inbound marketing programs with active social media components realize close to a 50% increase in website traffic vs. clients without active social media accounts.

Best Visual Effects – Given to the inbound marketing tactic that has had the most dramatic visual or interactive impact on our clients’ ability to generate leads. And the Oscar goes to … VIDEO MARKETING. Video has so many direct benefits that it’s hard to consider any other contenders for this award. Video helps with SEO, it helps engage people on social media sites, it helps visitors get your message and stay on your pages longer when visiting your website, it works beautifully as a content component of your sales process and it can be gated to drive more leads. It’s one of the few tactics that drives results in so many different areas.

Best Screenplay – Given to the behind-the-scenes inbound marketing work that ultimately turned into one of the best and most successful inbound marketing programs of all time. And the Oscar goes to … MARKETING STRATEGY AND PLANNING. It goes without saying, but without a great screenplay, you rarely produce a great movie. The same holds true here. Without a solid, well-thought-out and creative marketing strategy and plan, your chances of success with inbound marketing are slim. If you don’t know what to say to whom and how to make your business different, you may want to consider holding off on the entire program.

If you haven’t thought through your content plan, mapped it to your sales process, infused keywords, overlaid prospect questions and created editorial calendars for the entire year, you are going to struggle to drive leads. You can’t skip the planning process and expect to be successful.

Best Director – Given to the inbound marketing support tactic that helps us turn average program performance into remarkable program performance. And the Oscar goes to … MARKETING ANALYTICS.

You have to take direction from someone or, in this case, something. Data drives decisions. Once you see exactly what’s working well, what’s struggling and what isn’t working like you expected, adjustments in real-time should be made to improve performance. Without marketing analytics, it’s like driving on a dark road with the lights off.

Start Today Tip – This post might seem cheeky, but it’s true. If you are missing any of these Oscar-winning inbound marketing tactics from your marketing portfolio, then your marketing program isn’t firing on all cylinders. Worse than that, it’s possible that you might actually be sending some of your best prospects off to your competitors. If you want to make sure you’re doing everything possible to get found, get leads and close sales, then consider adding all of these award-winning inbound marketing tactics to your marketing today.

 

Michael Lieberman
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Content MarketingOver the weekend, one of our clients emailed us to share his overwhelming gratitude to see that an e-book we created for his company had found its way into a Forbes article. Click here to see the article. While this might look lucky to some, to us it’s all part of the science behind how we practice inbound marketing.

More importantly, as marketing continues to evolve, how you create, manage, publish and measure your content is becoming a core component of successful inbound marketing.

Marketing Strategy – Strategy before tactics: It’s our mantra, and without it, there’s little hope that your content will ever find a place outside of your website or your sales process. But, with some strong thinking behind it, a solid plan of attack and a road map by which you manage your efforts over the course of the year, successes like this become monthly occurrences. The results become huge increases in website traffic and major improvements in lead generation, month over month.

Content Mapping – Making sure you have content for all phases of the prospects’ buying process has always been important. Today, it’s critical. DO NOT proceed if you haven’t thought this out. You need to have content for the top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). But, you need the right content.

No-Risk Offers for the top of the funnel means educational content that requires only an email address. Low-Risk Offers for the middle of the funnel means educational content, such as webinars or online assessments, that requires the buyer to commit more personal information. Direct Business Offers are much richer than “Contact Us” or “Speak With A Sales Rep Today.” Make sure they contain something more for your prospects. Make it about them, and not about you, and you’ll see these bottom-of-the-funnel leads increase significantly.

Content Sourcing And Publication – This might be one of the most important and little-known ways to use content to drive results from inbound marketing. With some solid planning, you should be able to source and publish content across the web. Editors and site managers are constantly looking for content from outside sources – content that their readers will value. That is, as long as you’re not selling. You’re not selling, right? You should be able to leverage your current content to get traction with new potential prospects.

Embedded SEO Within The Content – You have to start creating content from a perspective of “get found.” Today, content is what drives people to your website. Content ranks, content gets shared and content gets people to know, like and trust your business. If your keywords and key questions are not a core part of the content you are creating, then you won’t get new prospects to find your website online, and that means you won’t hit your lead goals.

Make sure that everything you write is written for your target personas and the people who will be reading it, but don’t forget about Google and the other search engines, either.

Tracking And Testing – Inbound marketing delivers unmatched insight into what is working and what’s not working. Content works the same way. If you have a piece that isn’t converting, consider removing it, changing the title, changing the CTA button or reworking the landing page. But, do so with intent in mind. Blog posts give you direct insight into what content is moving the market. Focus your efforts on the content that is getting read, shared and commented on.

Start Today Tip – This blog post may have turned your content marketing effort on its ear. If so, that’s a good thing. It’s never too late to take a breath and create your marketing strategy, content map and overall content marketing approach. Content that generates leads takes time, and it also takes a professional effort in writing, designing and getting it to convert. If your landing pages or lead nurturing campaigns are weak, even the best content won’t generate leads. If your content isn’t compelling and it doesn’t look great, don’t expect Forbes to link to it. Make this a focus for 2014 and you’ll soon be seeing the leads you need to hit your revenue goals.

 

Michael Lieberman
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Video MarketingMore and more websites have video as part of their content marketing effort.

That’s great, because people like to watch videos, but how do you use videos to turn those watchers into leads?

That’s the difference between using video marketing as part of an inbound marketing program versus simply using videos on your website or in a YouTube channel.

Here are a few of the ways we turn videos into money for our clients.

Video SEO – Video is a great inbound marketing tactic, and a great way to rank. Google, especially, is looking for video to rank. To make sure your videos rank, put them on YouTube and other video-sharing sites like MetaCafe and Vimeo. Make sure your keywords and questions are highlighted in the meta tags and meta descriptions for all of your videos. Make sure your script has both keywords and relevant questions in the actual audio files. If you select less popular keywords, you have a better chance of ranking more quickly than if you choose the most popular and competitive keywords.

Video And Social Media – Social media users love video, especially those using Google Plus, which has become a hotbed for video posts. Make sure that your videos find their way onto your social sites on a regular basis. People love sharing videos, so the more you post them, the more likely they are to be shared. Sharing is caring when it comes to Google. The more your videos get shared, the higher they’re going to rank.

Video And The Sales Process – As much as your visitors want video, your prospects want video, too. Make sure that videos are an active component of your sales-related content marketing strategy. You should be sending videos strategically throughout your sales process. One easy way to include video is to make a Reference Reel. You know your prospects are going to want to talk to references. Instead of bothering the same three or four great clients, create a set of videos that you can send out to prospects proactively, before they even ask.

Video On The Web – Make sure your content marketing strategy includes video. This means that your website has to have a set of videos that answers the questions your prospects ask on a daily basis. Make sure your videos provide the answers, and add a call-to-action button for more information at the end of the videos. This allows you to give your prospects additional information, and potentially convert those prospects into leads.

Better yet, include a mixture of un-gated and gated videos. After prospects watch the un-gated videos, direct them to the more specialized or even more detailed gated content. This will improve the number of leads you get from your inbound marketing tactics.

Mapping Video To The Buyer Journey – One of the most frequently asked questions we get is, “What should our videos be about?” This is an easy question to answer when you know what questions your prospects are asking your sales team, or your customer service reps. Document these questions and start using video to answer them. Even your CSRs are able to send out links to videos while they are on the phone with customers. This is a brilliant way to improve customer service and drive people back to your website.

Once you have a list of questions from the beginning, middle and end of the sales process, you’ll know exactly how many videos you need and what those videos need to be about. Schedule them out over time; you don’t need to create them all in one day. Then, slowly deploy them into your sales and marketing. Follow the directions above and you are on your way to improving your ability to get found, get leads and close sales.

Start Today Tip – Most videos are easily produced with equipment that is readily available. This means you don’t need any fancy equipment to make videos. But, don’t skimp on sound. Your prospects are going to understand if the video looks homemade – we are all much more accepting of lower-quality video production. However, if they can’t hear what you are saying, forget the whole project. Invest in a good-quality lavaliere microphone. This ensures that everyone can hear what you or your subjects are saying. Also, keep your videos under 3 minutes, and closer to 90 seconds if possible. If your videos are too long, viewers will lose interest.

 

Michael Lieberman
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Digital MarketingYou know you’ve ignored certain digital marketing tactics. Admit it. Maybe it’s because you don’t understand them completely or maybe it’s because you don’t use them personally.

Or perhaps, you don’t think you have anyone on your staff who can manage them. Regardless, the time has come to include these eight digital marketing ideas in your company’s marketing if you want your business to get found, get leads and close sales.

Social Media – This has to be first. You would be shocked at how many companies come to us without comprehensive LinkedIn corporate pages or without any presence on Google Plus. The day where you could say, “I don’t use it and I am sure my prospects aren’t using it,” is long gone.

Everyone is using social media, and you need to make sure you have visually interesting, complete and message-appropriate Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter and YouTube pages. More importantly, these pages have to be updated weekly at minimum, and perhaps even daily.  

Video Marketing – We posted a blog on video marketing last week, so if you want more detail about what goes into a strong video marketing effort, click here to read our post. But, the short story is that you need video on your website, in your email marketing and as a part of your sales process. People want to watch; they don’t want to read. Make sure any video assets you create are integrated into your search engine optimization effort, meaning they need to be written, created and posted with keywords and questions in mind.

LinkedIn Sponsored Ads – These ads, which are promotions for your educational content – not links back to your homepage – have performed incredibly well for our clients in a testing phase, and are now part of our standard inbound marketing program implementation. Why? They allow us to do micro-segmentation. We target very specific individuals in specific businesses in the perfect target market, and our clients get amazing results. This tactic is also inexpensive, with most clients budgeting about $300 a month for their ads.

Website Personalization – Netfix, Amazon and other big brands are teaching us that our website experiences need to be hyper personal. Today, the tools are available for you to deliver a very similar experience. Why is this so important? Your prospects are making their purchase decisions in the 10 seconds they spend on your website. That’s right. If they have an interesting, personal and educational experience on your site, they are ready to buy (at least emotionally ready). If they have a mediocre or highly generic experience on your site, they are pressing the back button and moving to your competitor’s site.

Today, we provide your website visitors with a personalized experience so they get pictures, copy, offers, insights and interactive opportunities created just for them. This approach gets them to stick around and increases the chance that they convert from anonymous visitors into leads for your business. Personalized experiences on the web have proven to triple conversion rates. This also means triple the leads for your business.

Lead Nurturing – Just because a person converts into a lead on your website doesn’t mean he or she is ready to buy today. Making that assumption is a catastrophic mistake. Be careful how you nurture your leads. You don’t want to pepper them with three emails the day after they’ve downloaded your materials.

You don’t want to call them when they haven’t asked to be called. You do want to carefully plan out a series of educational emails with additional offers, tailored just to them. You do want to make sure those emails are personal, friendly and scheduled so they come at a reasonable pace, such as one every three days. This keeps you in front of your prospects and it keeps you in the position of advisor. Most importantly, if done well, it should allow you to tweak their pains and move them through the sales funnel and closer to becoming new clients.

Blogging – If you want your business to be found on the web, you have to blog and you have to blog regularly. This means at least two or three times a week. The actual amount of blogging is directly proportionate to how badly you want to be found. If you’re desperate, blog every day. The more you blog, the more traffic you drive to your site. Of course, this assumes you are blogging correctly: using the right keywords, using the right blog tool, using the proper linking and correctly placing images.

Smart Offers – This is a great way to keep your website visitors moving through the sales funnel. Once I download one piece of educational content on your site, why should I see it on your site again? Smart offers allow us to know what people download, and then to present them with different, yet perfectly relevant offers, so they are always seeing new and interesting educational content on your site. This technology allows us to continue personalizing their experiences on your site and helps you nurture them throughout the sales process.

Online Assessments – Most of us like to compare ourselves, or our companies, against others. As a result, assessments, grader tools and online quizzes are usually very effective middle-of-the-funnel offers. Our inbound marketing grader tool (see the CTA button below), HubSpot’s website grader tool and other online scorecards, graders and assessments allow you to collect valuable qualification data on your prospects. This should help you provide them with a personalized experience as you educate them towards making a safe purchase decision.

You could choose to implement one or two of the above ideas to give your marketing a digital marketing jumpstart. But, the power of inbound marketing comes when all of these components are integrated and implemented as one.

Start Today Tip – It’s time to step up your marketing program. If your marketing isn’t delivering, it’s probably because you are missing all or at least some of the digital marketing tactics discussed in this post. They’re not “nice to have” tactics. Today, they are mandatory, especially if you want to get found by search engines. Consider adding all, or most, of these elements to your collection of marketing tactics. Then, set goals around results and track the results on a weekly basis. It won’t be long until you start to see real results from these key digital marketing tactics.

Michael Lieberman
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Website Home Pages That WorkYour website has 10 seconds to get my attention, make me feel comfortable and purposefully move me through your site, guiding me and educating me, so that before I leave I feel comfortable and safe working with your company. I have to feel so comfortable that I happily share my contact information with you before I leave.

That is the true measure of whether your website design is good or not. It’s not whether people tell you they like it or not. It’s not even if you like it. It’s not about any awards or accolades it gets. It’s ONLY about how effective it is at getting people to give you their contact information.

For your site to be really good at converting visitors into leads, it needs to tell three simple stories and it needs to do so quickly. Microsoft Research identified that you have 10 seconds to connect with visitors before they hit the back button – so get to it, and get to it quickly.

You want to help, not sell.

If your website is too salesy, it’s going to turn people away. No one wants to be sold to. Most people don’t want to read about you, so if your website is an online corporate brochure about your business, it’s probably going to repel a lot of potential business.

But, if your website has a ton of educational resources that are easily accessible and easily visible right from the homepage, then qualified prospects (people who are actually interested in learning) are going to feel comfortable, they are going to stick around, they are going to download some content, they are going to read your blog and they are going to get to know your business.

If that content is helpful, creative, educational and consultative, you are taking a very big step in getting prospects to know, like and trust your company. If you help them, they are going to like you. The more you help them, the better they get to know you and the more they trust you. You need them to know, like and trust you before they hire you.

What is your why?

Your prospects are selecting to do business with you because they are emotionally connected to your business. Know, like and trust are other words to describe this emotional connection. One great way to get prospects connected to your business quickly is to tell them why you are in business.

You need to make sure your “why” is front and center on your website homepage. For instance, we have a client who sells safety products to manufacturers. Their “why” is, “To create a world where every single worker makes it home safe after every shift.” They are in business to make sure their clients’ employees are safe all day at work, so they go home to their families every single night. This is powerful.

Our company’s “why” is, “To help businesses think differently about how they market their companies.” We are in business to help clients add inbound marketing programs to their businesses, helping them get all the leads they need to grow their companies well beyond their wildest dreams.

You need a “why” that is clearly articulated on your homepage.

You understand them.

Last but not least, your prospects need to know that you understand them, and they need to see it, not just read it. This story has three distinct chapters that you need to illustrate for visitors right on your homepage. First, prospects need to know that you understand their pains and that you work with other people just like them. Typically, this story gets delivered visually, with an empathetic photo and high-level messaging that focuses on the challenges facing your prospects. Once they see someone who looks like them dealing with challenges that resemble their own challenges, you have them hooked.

Next, they want to know that you have solutions to their pains and that you have solutions other companies might be lacking. We tell this story on the homepage, too, in the form of “remarkables.” You’ve heard us talk about this before, but highlighting what makes your business remarkable, right on the homepage, helps get prospects connected with you AND differentiates you from your competitors’ right from the start.

Finally, and the order is important, your prospects are looking to see who you’ve worked with in the past. There is safety in numbers. If Company A uses this firm, then I feel good continuing to look around their website. This last part is typically delivered in the form of testimonials, success stories, client logos, case studies and references. Many companies like to skip over the prior two elements that illustrate your understanding of a prospect’s challenges and jump right into this stage, but we advise against that.

If you skip any of these steps, you run the risk of losing your prospects, making them anxious or causing them to feel uncomfortable, and that almost always leads to the dreaded back button.

Start Today Tip – Telling the right stories to the right people at the right time is the essence of strong inbound marketing. Your website is just one of those times. You need to make sure the right stories are being delivered quickly and simply, so that your visitors turn into leads. If you aren’t getting 2% of your overall website traffic to turn into leads on a monthly basis, you should consider talking to an expert about your marketing strategy. For every month that goes by, you are turning people away, driving them to your competitors or creating the wrong image of your business. It might be time to get help.

 

Michael Lieberman
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