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Top 5 Ways to Market Your Business With LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most powerful social networking site to help you grow your business.  It makes Twitter, Facebook and YouTube seem like social networking sites for kids.

If you want to hang with the big players—a place where connections are made, leads are generated, and deals go down—then you need to spend more of your time on LinkedIn.

Although other sites have their purpose in the business world and many people utilize multiple social networking sites, LinkedIn is still the number-one place to market your business.  Here are ways to use LinkedIn and get results:

#1: Use LinkedIn Groups & Receive Tons of New Leads Daily

How would you feel if you had a sales funnel that brought in roughly 50 to 100 fresh, highly targeted leads every day? You’d feel pretty confident about putting food on the table next week, right?

Well, creating a LinkedIn group gives you the ability to generate an amazing number of leads from high-end decision makers.

Here are some great groups to closely examine:

Here’s how to maximize your LinkedIn group:

  1. Add keywords in the description of your group to increase your search rankings on LinkedIn’s search section.
  2. Add keywords in the title of the group to be found on Google.
  3. Add your company website or blog to the group to drive traffic to your site.
  4. Add your blog RSS feed to the group so every new article is automatically posted to the home page of every group member.
  5. Send a weekly message that adds value for group members and drives traffic back to your site.
  6. Connect people in the group by making introductions to those who could potentially do business with one another.

All of these points will help you generate more leads for your business.  If your sales funnel is set up correctly, you will have more than enough prospects to grow your business.

Make sure you create a group that fills a need for the audience you’re targeting in your business field. This will ensure that every person who joins the group is a qualified lead.

#2: Ask Questions & Build Your Credibility

I’ve asked a number of questions using LinkedIn Answers because it’s a great way toget the answers you need from some of the top experts in the world.

Then, when you see a question pop up that you know the answer to, follow these steps:

  1. Research the person who asked the question, and find a way to tie in a personal response with something from their LinkedIn profile.
  2. Be as helpful and resourceful as possible when answering the question.  Give tips, website links with additional information, or even recommend someone who is the best expert on that topic.
  3. Leave the answer with an open invitation for more communication by asking them to contact you privately if they need any extra help.

All of these tips will help you gain the most out of answering questions, and will help you build powerful relationships that will grow your business.

#3: Create Powerful Events

Hosting an event is a great way to build your business (see events under the ‘More…’ news in the LinkedIn navigation bar).  LinkedIn has an events platform that allows you to target thousands of professionals for free.

I threw close to 20 events around the country last year and I used LinkedIn to promote them, getting approximately 500 paying attendees per event.

Due to the viral nature of LinkedIn, once someone RSVPs to your event, it shows up on the home profile of everyone that person is connected to, spreading the message for you.

Creating an event on LinkedIn is simple.  Answer a few questions and start promoting your event.  Send an invitation to the people who would be interested in the event based on region or niche. You will notice a wealth of opportunities from hosting your own event.

#4: Run an Advanced Search in Your Target Market

It’s so easy to generate leads from LinkedIn.  The advanced search function helps you get in touch with the exact people you’re going after.

Simply click on “advanced” on the top right side of your home page next to the search box.  This will take you to a clean page where you can input anything you need to find the exact lead you are seeking.  You can search by industry, keywords, company and title, to mention a few.

#5:  Send Personal Messages

Once you find leads, you want to send them personalized messages.  The best way to drop any walls—and give yourself the best chance of making a sale—is to connect with someone on as many personal levels as possible. Look at their profile, find out which companies they’ve worked for in the past, which school they attended, what groups they’re in, listed hobbies and who your mutual connections are.  Then, write a personal message like this one:

Hi Tom,

I noticed that we’re both connected to Mary, Jeff and Bob; we both played basketball back in college; and we’re both in Toastmasters International speaking club.

I would love to connect with you to learn more about your experiences at Xyz Company. I believe there are a number of ways we could help one another.  Would you be free for a brief chat in the near future?

Looking forward to connecting soon and I’ll be sure to tell Mary I contacted you. I’m sure she would love to know I reached out to say ‘hi.’

Thanks,
Lewis

Personal messages seal the deal and give you a greater chance of future opportunities.

Now Go Grow Your Business With LinkedIn!

If you follow these tips, you’ll begin to understand why LinkedIn is the best social networking site for building your business. There are number of ways to attract leads, connect with powerful decision makers and market your business. LinkedIn’s niche-specific filters and search features can help you reach the right people in your field.

Make a point of staying active on LinkedIn. Continue to update your profile and add new contacts. The more you put into it, the more the entire network will work for you.

Are you using LinkedIn? How is it working for you? I look forward to hearing what success stories your LinkedIn network brings you. Share your comments below.

Source: Social Media Examiner

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5 Reasons Why Landing Pages & Forms are More Valuable than Homepages

A recent post over at Google made an interesting claim: The ROI for improvement is much better for landing pages and forms than it is for homepages. At first this sounds controversial, but it makes sense for many reasons. While the article talks about how to improve forms and landing pages, it doesn’t really explain why they are more valuable than home pages.

Here are five reasons landing pages are more valuable than home pages:

  1. Landing pages & forms are real interaction points.They are the primary way that visitors enter information or communicate back to you, the web site owner. Most pages are simply one-way communication, but forms and landing pages with forms are two-way…they are the conversation. By “listening” to the conversation on these types of pages, you’ll learn a lot more than you will by trying to figure out what home page traffic is telling you.
  2. Landing pages are transactional, and the transactions they enable are the ones crucial to your business. This means they are the most important point in the usage lifecycle of your customers…it’s when visitors are deciding to do business with you or start the process of doing business with you. They contain the most important decision points for your customers.
  3. Landing pages are contextual. When designed well, landing pages address a very specific need of a very specific audience. This makes them high value…they are like the sales closer. They come in after someone has shown interest and are the most powerful way you can close the deal. They might have a lot less traffic than the homepage, but that traffic is much more important.
  4. Home pages are a catch-all. They act to triage all incoming traffic. They have to handle first-time visitors, returning visitors, the press, friends and family, investors, people who want to sign into your web app, everyone who has any reason at all to visit. Therefore, the messages on homepages are necessarily weakened and can’t speak as strongly to any specific user group…they have to handle everything. They serve a completely different purpose than more focused pages like landing pages or forms.
  5. Homepages are notoriously political. Everyone wants a piece of the homepage. The thinking is that because the homepage is the single page with the most traffic, it must be the most important page on the site. But that’s simply not true…the mere fact that it’s the root URL on your domain means that it will inevitably get more traffic. In the end the politics almost always serve to distract…by spending so much time on the homepage design teams often overlook the value of their other, more important pages.

As site visitors we don’t often see landing pages unless we come via a specific pathway, such as clicking on an ad on Google Search or Facebook or some other ad provider. This serves to diminish landing pages in our mind…because we don’t see them as often as the venerable homepage. But there are real reasons why it makes sense to focus much of our design efforts on landing pages and forms…while leaving the homepage for the birds.

Source: Performable

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How to be All Things to All Customers

There is one indisputable fact that marketers who sell soap already know about their customers that you probably don’t. Men and women buy soap differently—that’s no surprise. But while you might be tempted to focus on packaging or different scents… it turns out the key to getting repeat purchases is knowing that for women, it is the scent of the soap that is the most important, and for men it is the lather. Sell a great smelling soap to a man with no lather, and he won’t believe it worked as well and stay away from it. There are presumably scores of evidence and research to back up this basic soap fact—yet even if there weren’t you could read this point and immediately understand it to be true.

Soap is a simple product and the lesson that selling it offers for your small business is simple too: find the one ingredient that matters most to your customers and then find a way to focus on it. Sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Now consider home pregnancy tests. Most of them are the same, but what marketers of THOSE products know is that people generally buy them in two emotional states: hope or fear. Depending on which emotion they are buying with, the packaging is different.

What we are talking about here is basic motivation… why is someone going to buy your product in the particular moment that you are selling it? Traditional marketing advice tells us to pick a message, stick to it and drive it home with consumers. We have the BEST suitcase for your next vacation, for example. But now how can you market to someone who isn’t taking a vacation? This is the central problem that we often face with our marketing… that all our messaging is focused on a set of principles or situation that might change.

To fight this, you need to find a way to be more than one thing to your customer, depending on what they need. To be Superman AND Clark Kent simultaneously. How are you going to do it? Thankfully, there are a few online techniques that can help you:

  1. Create page versions. One of the best things about the Internet is that you can create almost identical experiences with small tweaks at very little cost. If you offer accounting and tax preparation, why not create separate pages talking about each of those services and what makes you unique? Then you can point people to one page or another depending on which service they happen to be seeking.
  2. Use test campaigns. In addition to multiple page versions, you can also test different messages quickly and easily. Google AdWords and Facebook are great options which are set up to let you run tests independently and find lessons which can help your campaign overall.
  3. Categorize and drive people to the categories. One of the best things about blogs and creating your own content is that you can categorize them for subjects that different custom groups may care about. So as you create content on a single topic, make sure you have a way of grouping it together.
  4. Create a sub-brand (advanced technique). This could be called a “master brand” technique only because of how easily it could go wrong, but the idea of this is to create a way of branding multiple versions of your product or service depending on who you are selling it to.

Source: Open Forum

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3 Easy Ways to Master Your Facebook Presence

The latest stats on Facebook are staggering: more than 500 million active members and 500,000 interactive applications. The site says members are spending over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

For business owners, it’s clear you need some type of presence on the world’s number one social networking site.  However, once you sign up, what’s the next step?

First, you should create a Facebook “like” page (formerly called “fan” pages). It’s fairly simple. Just create your page, edit your information, and push it live.  The real challenge with your page is to get people joining, and coming back for more.  I’ve had an Amber Mac Like Page for many months, but it wasn’t until this year that I truly understood how to make the most of my presence there.

Early this spring I sat down with a friend on Facebook’s strategy team.  I asked him to spend an hour with me to demystify the page experience, and give me some insider tips for Facebook success.  I learned a lot within these sixty minutes that changed the way that I approach my own Facebook Page. Here’s a summary what other businesses need to start doing now.

1.  Fill the wall.

Many companies spend time prettying up their pages, diving into the Info, Photos, and Notes tabs, but the truth is that very few people actually venture out to spend time on your page and within these tabs.  In fact, approximately 90 percent of people communicating with your Facebook page are doing so from their own personal news feeds.  In other words, only 10 percent of people are leaving the comfort of their Facebook home pages to check out your presence.

Since most users are interacting with you via your updates, focus your Facebook strategy on writing compelling messages on your Wall.  Facebook pushes these status notes to your users’ feeds (unlike other tab updates, which simply sit in one place).  Ideally, you want to write something that encourages your friends to comment, like, or share your messages.  This is how your Facebook page will become more popular.

2. Use rich media.

While writing compelling messages is key to getting your feed into the hearts and minds of your online community, a picture is worth a thousand clicks.  You don’t need to post a professional picture every time, but regularly attaching cellphone photos to your messages and trying to make your posts more visual is a must.  Aside from photos, videos are also heating up on Facebook.  The site is now one of the top five video viewing destinations online, so make it a habit of attaching YouTube videos to your messages to get more traction.

3.  Get inside Insights.

Facebook page owners can get free analytics with Insights, a tool that sits within your account. This information is an important part of your Facebook success since it will help you to understand who is using your page which includes demographic info such as gender and age (allowing you to post appropriate messages).

Within this area you can also get details on how much people are interacting with your content in order to learn what type of content is getting the most clicks.  One note: many users have found that they first need to authenticate their Facebook page before accessing Insights.

In addition to these three recommendations, ensure that you update your Facebook page with at least one new piece of content every weekday.  While you want to make sure that you keep pushing out interesting updates, don’t forget the Cardinal Rules of online success: Share information from your community and not just information about what you are doing.  In other words, visit the online profiles of your Facebook friends and make sure to “like,” comment on, and spread interesting posts from them.  Social media is, after all, a two-way street.

Source: Open Forum

5 Site Metrics Every Small Business Should Track

Many site small business owners’ eyes glaze over when people start talking about analytics, click through rates, and abandonment funnels. Really, there’s a lot of jargon that goes with measuring a site with analytics.

Small business owners should be paying attention to their site analytics because the data provides useful insights into their site traffic, which ultimately leads to more sales. If you’re not paying attention to your site analytics, your business is leaving money on the table.

The problem with most analytic packages is that they’re large and confusing, providing tons of data without much instruction. Fortunately, there are only a few really important metrics that small businesses owners should track to get the best results. It’s like the 80/20 principle: these are the 20 percent of metrics that provide 80 percent of the most value to small business owners.

The Tools

First off, you’ll need to install tracking software. It’s usually only a matter of installing a bit of javascript in the footer of your site’s design. If you don’t know how to do it, your designer should be able to very quickly.

There are tons of stat programs out there, but Google Analytics gives me almost everything that I need to track. It’s robust and free, so it’s the perfect analytics program for small businesses.

Setting Up Goals

After you’ve set up Google Analytics on your site, you’ll also need to set up a few goals. Goals are the foundation for most of the metrics you’ll track. You can define goals for when a visitor completes a sale, or signs up for your newsletter, or anything else. (Here are some great examples of goals you can create.)

So for now, start tracking your single most important goal, like completed sales or newsletter subscriptions. Once you get the hang of how Analytics works, you can add other important goals. (Here’s how to set up a goal in Analytics.)

The Metrics You Need to Track

Now that you’ve got your goal set up, you’ll start gathering data on your site. Here are the most important metrics that you’ll want to track for your small business website:

1. Conversions

Conversions are the biggest thing that you’ll want to track. Conversions are the number of sales divided by the number of visitors that come to your site. Many site owners are clueless as to their site conversion rates, and if you don’t know this basic bit of information, you won’t have a baseline to improve your site with.

Goal conversions allow you to effectively see lots of great things such as  what page on your site makes the most sales, the referring site that led to the sale (ie. Google, Twitter, etc.) and where people leave the “sales funnel” and stop the purchasing process (more on that later).

These are important insights for your site. If you can improve your conversion rate, you can make more sales, which is the reason you have a website for you business in the first place, right?

2. Referrers

A referrer is simply who’s sending traffic to your site. Is it Twitter? Is it advertising? Is it some other website? Knowing your traffic referrers also allows you to see if you’re getting an outside spike of traffic from an unexpected source.

Knowing the main source of your site’s traffic allows you to focus your energies on different content strategies to attract the right type of traffic.

Another great feature of tracking your referrers is the ability to gauge of the effectiveness of advertising. If you’re spending money on advertising on another site, you can see if it’s actually sending any traffic or converting sales (with your above goals).

3. Bounce rate

Bounce rates show the percentage of people who leave your site by only visiting a single web page. High bounce rates mean something is wrong with your site, and steps should be taken to fix it. It could be that visitors aren’t getting engaged, or your design might be too cluttered and confusing. Bounce rates are a great indicator of the effectiveness of your site.

Here’s a guide on how to improve website bounce rates.

4. Goal path and goal abandonment funnel

The Reverse Goal Path is a way to see the path that your visitor took to complete a goal. This gives information on the pages that generate the most sales.

Similarly, the Goal Abandonment Funnel shows where the user left the “funnel” in a started goal. This metric allows you to see which pages gave the user reason to not finish the goal, like make a sale.

Both these metrics are very useful for getting an idea of what motivates and repels your visitors when they’re at your site.

5. Search keywords

Search keywords are the keywords that search engines refer to your site. Search engine visitors are some of the most motivated traffic, as they’re looking for very specific things. This means they’re typically more likely to buy things than the average visitor. Knowing what keywords send your site traffic allow you to:  a) figure out what you rank for those keywords and b) determine SEO and other marketing steps to improve those rankings.

Other Tools to Use

Quantcast – A tool that shows site demographics and other visitor data

Google Website Optimizer – Perform A/B or multi-variate testing to optimize areas of your website for visitors

Crazy Egg – Give heatmap data, showing where visitors click on your site and other interesting data.

Source: Open Forum