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CONNECTED CULTURE Blog by Jerry Allocca

Now, more than ever, we’re all connected. What does it mean to be part of the Connected Culture? Share your thoughts and ideas here!
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3 Landing Pages Strategies That Produce Results

landing pageDo you have landing pages that aren’t the successful lead generation tools you thought they’d be? Landing pages are just too essential to let them fail. If you’re like many marketers, you’ve had varying degrees of success with landing pages, and you may have even begun to question their effectiveness. Before you pull the plug on this key component of your inbound marketing efforts, you might want to try updating your landing pages using the three following, proven best practices that have enabled countless other marketers to generate valuable leads and customers.

Strong Headlines, Concise Copy
Your site visitors are bombarded with messages from countless other sources. To cut through the clutter, you need to grab them first with a headline that captures their attention, sums up your offer and compels them to take the next step.

From there, your copy must be clear, concise and focused. This isn’t the place to provide detailed product descriptions or lengthy customer testimonials. Use bullet points and compelling images to communicate clear takeaways and break up blocks of text with subheads and call-outs. Strategically place keywords in the page title, headers and text to optimize for search engines, and don’t forget a convincing call to action that can provide a clear actionable next step for visitors to take.

Highly Visible Buttons and Calls-to-Action
Don’t make potential customers search for a conversion button. It should be prominently displayed directly below your call-to-action. It’s also beneficial to include social sharing buttons to promote sharing of your landing page via online communities on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others.

Test, Test, and Test Again
One of the very useful benefits of landing pages is the ability to modify them quickly without having to rip and replace your existing website. You may have multiple headlines or calls to action. By using a basic A/B test, you can determine what works and what doesn’t. The process of experimentation in messaging, images, calls to action and design can help you achieve the maximum number of conversions possible.

Need Help with Your Landing Pages?
Do you not have the time or resources to create and manage landing pages? Don’t miss this powerful heart and soul of your lead generation efforts. Contact Connected Culture today to find out how we can help you with your digital marketing needs.

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How To Calculate Blogging ROI

blogging-roi

Is Blogging Essential in 2014?

One of the top questions marketing agencies are asked these days is whether or not having a blog is essential. While business blogs were still just entering into the commonplace arsenal of marketing tools five years ago, more than 35 percent of Fortune 500 companies are now blogging. This is up from 23 percent in 2010. These percentages are considered to be even higher for smaller-sized companies.

Still, many businesses are reluctant to launch into creating a blog strategy and committing to posting content on a regular basis. In most of these cases, leadership is still not convinced that there is a calculable ROI for blogging.

This year, the upward trend in blogging certainly will continue. This is because more and more businesses are seeing calculable benefits to it. Still not sure if it’s right for your business? Here are some of the valuable reasons why you may want to jump on board the blogging bandwagon in 2014.

More Customers

According to a study from HubSpot entitled “The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing,” 56 percent of businesses that blogged at least once a month acquired customers through their blogs. Those that ramped up their efforts to three times a week saw this percentage jump to 70 percent. Daily blogging produced new customers for 78 percent of businesses.

More Credibility

Obviously the more valuable content you publish on your business blog, the more credibility you gain with customers and prospects. By positioning yourself as a thought leader, you’ll gain valuable trust that helps to build a brand and generate referrals.

More Traffic

Search engines reward websites that add fresh content. And, this is exactly what a blog enables you to do. By regularly blogging, you’re giving search engines what it is specifically looking for to enable you to rank higher in results. Higher rankings directly translate into more website traffic which ultimately means more sales.

Search engines crawl and index sites with regularly published content far more often than those that are stagnant. By peppering content with relevant keywords and linking between your blog and your website pages, you can improve your rankings even more. Get others to repost your content, and you’ll see an even bigger boost.

How to Calculate Your Return on Investment

While there are some marketing experts that claim that every business should be blogging because it’s free, this is utterly inaccurate. There is a definite cost to blogging. It requires a substantial amount of labor to be successful. While it can be costly, it can deliver a big opportunity. Thus, it’s important to calculate how blogging will affect your bottom line. Here’s how you can do this:

The Investment
  1. Determine how many hours will it take to write, edit, track, and manage the blog.
  2. Calculate the cost to your company in salary or contractor time for these hours.
  3. Add the cost for the design and technology fees for the blog (divide by 12 if this is an annual amount).
  4. Add the cost in hosting, maintenance, and additional app fees (divide by 12 if this is an annual amount).
  5. This total amount is what your blog costs per month.

The Revenue
  1. Evaluate how many revenue-oriented actions are created per month. This should include calls, clicks on your subscription sign up button, or who contacted you through your “contact us” page. For calls, you will need to verbally inquire about the blog’s role unless you utilize a special tracking phone number for the purpose of tracking customers from the blog.
  2. Determine a value for each revenue-oriented action.
  3. Multiply the number of each action by its associated value to calculate the revenue created from the blog.


Your return on investment is your revenue divided by the investment. This will give you a monthly ROI for your blogging efforts.

Hopefully, this has provided you with both some concrete proof that blogging works and how to determine what you can gain from adding it to your existing marketing mix.

Question:

What have you learned after calculating your blogging ROI?

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Does Your Business Need a Content Strategy?

crown_contentSuccessful online marketing for businesses of all sizes has become an increasingly complex mix of SEO, email marketing, and social media. These tools and others used for attracting and engaging online audiences have one very important commonality. It’s content.

The words, images, and videos that a business publishes online can dramatically impact the ability to build a brand, communicate a message, sell products and services, and ultimately retain customers.

According to a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 86% of business to consumer companies are keeping or increasing their current content marketing spend this year. For business to business companies, more than 50% are bumping up their content production in 2013. Knowing that more businesses than ever are leveraging content is a clear indicator that having a smart strategy in place for its creation, publication, and governance is no longer just a good idea. It has become a must for staying competitive online.

One of the best ways to maximize the efficacy of your content is to have a clearly defined content strategy. This dynamic plan for your content doesn’t have to be lengthy, but it does need to spell out three very important components:

Creation
One of the most overlooked aspects of a content strategy is the creation process. Curating useful and usable content needs to be defined early in the development of a strategy. This includes:

  • Evaluating the data you need to help formulate content such as what keywords and links are most beneficial.
  • Identifying the audience who will be viewing it. This can include customers, prospects, investors, vendors and industry analysts.
  • Defining a consistent message and voice.
  • Determining who will create it. In many cases, a content team includes in-house staff, contractors, and even guest bloggers.

Publication
Once you’ve established how you’re going to create content, determining the ways in which it will be published is the next step. Consistency is absolutely essential!

Considerations should include:

  • Where you will publish (a list that includes all social media channels, websites, industry sites, and more)
  • How often you will publish (a content calendar)
  • A plan of action for reviewing content before it goes live. (QA for identifying spelling and grammar errors, as well as broken links.)

Governance
Keeping track of content once it is published is also very important. Taking a done and dusted policy is never a good idea because to ensure content consistency it needs to be managed on an ongoing basis. So, a comprehensive content strategy must define the specific tools you’ll use to keep track, maintain, and measure your content.

Question:

What is your content strategy?

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