How To Increase ROI With Effective CTAs

by Admin on July 7, 2011

These days everyone seems to want to increase their website’s ROI. We’ve talked about how having a blog can help increase ROI by attracting more potential customers. But once those potential customers get to your website or blog, what are they supposed to do? That’s where Calls To Action (CTAs) come into play.

A Call To Action (CTA) on a website or blog is something that urges the website visitor to take immediate actions, such as “Download Now”, “Sign up Now”, “Click Here For xyz”, etc. CTAs  often offer something free in exchange for information about the website visitor (e.g. name, email address). A CTA also provides a way to measure your website’s success.

Too often though, website owners come up with a CTA and never test it or modify it. They use the same CTA whether it is working for them or not. This is a mistake many people make.

call to actionCTAs should be A/B tested from the start. Even if the resulting action is the same (downloading a white paper for example), alternate text, button color and button positioning should be tested for effectiveness.

The words you use in your CTA are vitally important. Your CTA should be clear as to what you want the website visitor to  do. You should use active words. You may want to use a sense of urgency such as Offer expires July 31st or maybe a discount for signing up early.

Button color can be an important element as it can be used to attract the visitor’s eye. Button positioning is also important for the same reason.

Having effective Calls To Action are essential to any website. And any CTA should be put through the tests and rated against alternatives. Yes, it is more work, but well worth it. It could be the difference in a CTA that works and one that doesn’t. An effective CTA can make all the difference in your website’s ROI.

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Social Media Strategy: Commitment

by blogmistress on July 6, 2011

Social Media StrategyI recently read an article on HubSpot that cited a study that says 53% of executives believe they must adopt social media marketing or risk falling behind. I talk with business owners all the time who would agree. Social media and content marketing are here to stay. Of course, as always, business owners have to make the choice of finding the time to invest or finding money to invest to have someone do it for them. Either way, it is a commitment.

I think that, as business owners, we have to think of social media marketing as part of our daily plan, just as you have to take time to keep your bookkeeping up to date or keep track of your inventory, you need to make the time for social media. Sometimes, that means thinking ahead and scheduling the necessary time.

As I am writing this, it is around 6:30 in the morning. Between 5:30 and 7:00 is my usual time for blogging. I like to get blogging and social media done first so I can then concentrate on the rest of what I have to do during the day without the guilt of thinking that I still need to get this done.

I know some people who will sit down and write several blogs at once and then schedule them for publishing in advance. They do the same thing with social media conversations with tools like Hootesuite. That is another great way to make time for social media.

Yesterday, Joe B. wrote about “The Dip” and pushing through when you are discouraged about blogging. This is sometimes difficult to do. Social media marketing and blogging are great tools, but the results are not achieved quickly. Many times, people become discouraged and quit before they have given their efforts enough time to yield any results.

In a time when many small businesses are struggling, it is difficult to urge patience, but I so urge patience and commitment to a strategy. What are your frustrations? What do you do to overcome them?
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The Blogging Dip

by Admin on July 5, 2011

the dip by seth godinMost bloggers experience what Seth Godin calls “the Dip”. For those not familiar with Seth’s book, The Dip, I’ll try to define it here. The Dip is what many people and businesses experience when they start something new. It is a “temporary” setback that can be overcome with persistence. But all setbacks are not temporary, some are permanent. The key is to know early on if a setback is temporary or permanent.

In blogging, almost every blogger starts out having to acquire readers. Sometimes this can take awhile. It can be frustrating and discouraging. In fact, Technorati reported in a 2008 survey that the blog abandonment rate was around 95%. That means that 95% of the people and companies that started blogs had given up on them.

When my wife started her personal blog, A Southern Life, it took several months for her to consistently get double digit hits. But she posted almost every weekday for two years and now has almost 600 posts. She now gets over 100 hits per day if she doesn’t post anything and 500+ hits when she does post. Most of those 100 hits come from searches on search engines that found her older posts.

Blogging is a commitment that often takes time before you see the return on investment. But persistence and consistency will pay off in the end. When you do get through the Dip, you’ll be happy with the results.

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Want A Better Google Rank for Your Keywords?

by blogmistress on June 24, 2011

That is what everyone wants – to be number one on Google. So the question is: for what words? We’ve talked a lot about long tail keywords for better website traffic. Long tail keywords will also help you when you are trying to get ranked by Google. Studies show that people generally use more than one and often three or more words when they are searching. They do this because they want to find something specific. How specific can you get?

Long Tail KeywordsLonger Tail Keywords
Real estate for sale in Dallas, TX3 bedroom, 2 bath home for sale in Highland Park
Bed and Breakfast in Eureka SpringsHistoric Bed and Breakfast in Eureka Springs, AR
Dentist in New OrleansDentist who does invisible braces in New Orleans

You can get pretty specific. The possibilities are almost endless. What you have to do is research those keywords to see if anyone is using them. You may be surprised. You can research your keywords with Google’s keyword tool. You can come up with hundreds of relevant long tail keywords that people may use to look for your product or service. Now you just have to use them. Put them in your post titles, content and alt tags.

If you have a blog (which you definitely should), you can write articles on a regular basis and try out all kinds of variations on your long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords may not be searched as much as general keywords, but they are much easier to rank for because they are less competitive. If a dentist wants to rank for the word “dentist”, that is great; but if I’m looking for a dentist who does invisible braces (which is what I might type because I don’t know what else to call them), it won’t help me, as a consumer, to find a “dentist” that doesn’t offer what I am looking for.

This really does work. Try it out and let me know how it goes! Want to see how you are doing now? Sign up for a free website analysis.

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HubSpot Certified Partner – Why We Did It

by blogmistress on June 1, 2011

HubSpot Certified PartnerPeople ask us why Wharton Marketing became a HubSpot Certified Partner. What if there was a methodology for getting your business found on the internet, converting visitors into leads for your business and then a way to measure the results to make sure you are going in the right direction? What if there was a software package that had all the tools you need to do this well with the tools being well integrated? The answer to both of those questions is – “There is! It’s called HubSpot!”

The HubSpot inbound marketing methodology of:

  • Get Found
  • Convert
  • Analyze

is one that has proven itself over and over with thousands of businesses.It has gotten the attention of investors who have recently added $32 million of additional venture capital to HubSpot. One of the investors, Sequoia Capital says,

Sequoia Capital has a long history of partnering with founders to help them build long-term, multi-billion dollar companies, including Google, LinkedIn, AdMob, YouTube, Yahoo!, Apple, and Oracle. “We back companies that are transforming their industries,” said Jim Goetz, General Partner at Sequoia Capital.

HubSpot is transforming the internet marketing industry. We use the methodology and the software ourselves, and it has literally transformed our business. We used to offer website design and SEO. Now, we have tools to help businesses grow in a very meaningful way to meet their goals, and we can measure ROI. What we do still includes website design and SEO, but it is soooo much more.

We didn’t have to become Certified Partners to work with HubSpot. We could have been resellers (VARs) who also used the software. However, we took the additional step of getting the training and passing the certification exam because we wanted to be actual partners with a company that is transforming its industry and helping businesses that are serious about growing and reaching their marketing goals.

I even took an additional step to become a HubSpot Certified Educator. Now, not only do I use the inbound marketing methodology, I teach it to others as well as use it to help our customers. By the way, this same methodology is now being taught at Harvard Business School.

What are your marketing goals? Are you serious about growing your business? If you are committed to growing, we can help by partnering with you and committing to help you grow.

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The Best SEO Strategy

by Admin on May 31, 2011

One of the best SEO strategies is blogging. In the past, SEO strategies have included keywords, link building, anchor text, etc. While all of these have their place, I believe one of the best SEO strategies is blogging. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, but it is important to understand.

Wikipedia defines search engine optimization (SEO) as the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. One of the reasons blogging is such a good SEO strategy is that search engines love blogs. Studies show that websites with blogs have 55% more visitors, convert 40% of those visitors into qualified leads, have 97% more links and have 434% more indexed pages. Sounds like SEO to me.

best seo like trotline fishingWell, you have to look at your website like a trotline in fishing. Every page on your website, or post on your blog, is a hook on a trotline. And every one of those pages (hooks) has different bait (keywords). So every one of your blog posts gives you a new opportunity to be found in the results of a search in a search engine. The more blog posts, the more opportunities.

Let’s say you and your biggest competitor have websites with an equal number of pages (it could be 10 or 100 pages, it doesn’t matter). Now, let’s say you have been blogging between 1 and 5 days a week for the last 2 years. That would give you between 104 and 520 additional indexed pages which could appear in search results when people are looking for your products or services!

If you aren’t blogging, you should be. And if you blog enough before your competitors start blogging, you will have a big head start on the number of indexed pages you have.

This is not rocket science, it’s basic math. So, start blogging!

Has blogging helped your business? Tell us how.

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Blogging for Business – How Often?

by blogmistress on May 27, 2011

One of the questions we are often asked is how often should I post to my blog. The quick and easy answer is at least once a week, but more is better. However, let’s dig a little deeper.

You already know that each post gives you one more indexed page that can be found by search engines and people. So, now you need to look at your goals. The more aggressive your goals, the more often you will need to post. If you are posting once a week, you should have 52 more indexed pages in one year. That is 52 more opportunities to be found by people looking for you through search engines. You can see from that example, that if you are posting more often, you will increase your chances of being found exponentially. Web spiders will generally crawl your site once a day, so if you are a small business, it may not make a lot of sense to blog more than once a day, but according to a study by Dan Zarrella of HubSpot, companies that post more than once a day do get a great deal more traffic.

blogging frequency

Think about how much business can you effectively handle. If you are a small operation, you have to consider that a) you probably don’t have the time and staff to be blogging several times a day and b) if you get a huge increase in customers, you may not have the staff and resources to adequately serve them.

Another thing to consider is your sales cycle. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that people don’t do research before they pick up the phone and call you or walk into your store. How much information do your customers need from you before they are ready to purchase?

Carefully, look at your goals and your capabilities. You still need to commit to at least once a week for your efforts to be meaningful, but beyond that, you need to take other things into consideration.

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Blogging for Business – Making Time

by blogmistress on May 25, 2011

One of the biggest problems for businesses who want to blog is finding the time to blog. This is especially true for small businesses that don’t have a lot of staff. One of the things that I have found helpful is coming up with an editorial calendar and planning ahead.

First, brainstorm blog topic ideas. Think of questions you can answer for your readers and updates you can give them about what is going on in your industry. Start a list of blog topics that you can constantly be updating, revising and adding to.

Second, assign blog topics to days on the calendar. Plan on how often you want to post and write the blog topics in on the appropriate days.

Third, write when you can. You don’t have to write each article on the assigned day. You just need to publish on the assigned day. When you have some time, sit down and write several articles and then just save them as drafts or schedule them to publish in advance on the appropriate day.

Commitment to Blogging

Commitment - "Sucess seems to be largely a matter of hanging on when others have let go." ~ William Feather

Blogging for Business can be a very effective way to communicate with your target audience and keep in touch with your customers. Having so much more content available to be found by search engines and people alike can be a great asset for your business. What is really required more than anything else is commitment. You have to be committed to the process. You won’t always feel like taking the time to sit down and write, but the effort will pay off. It is like an exercise program. Sticking with it is the key. For an exercise program to be effective, you have to stay after it. It is the same way with blogging.

Find the time to blog and make the commitment!


Blogging for Business – The Platform

by blogmistress on May 23, 2011

As I begin to write this post today, my heart goes out to our friends to the Northwest of here in Joplin, Missouri, who have been so devastated by a tornado last night. I see there is a Facebook page set up to provide information for those that would like to help at Joplin MO Tornado Recovery.

In the meantime, we are talking about blogging for business. One of the first posts in this series was about getting the URL right. That is important to re-visit because, if you don’t get that part right, none of the rest of your efforts will matter! Now let’s talk about platforms.

I have two recommendations for platforms:

WordPressFirst is a hosted WordPress blog. That means that you own the URL and host the blog yourself and it is on a WordPress platform. One of the greatest advantages of using WordPress, if you are just starting out, is that you can start with a blog and then grow it into a full blown website that has your blog built in. WordPress gives you a lot of flexibility for customizing your blog or you can pick out a ready-made theme and use that if you prefer. WordPress has plugins for just about any functionality you can imagine. Because it is open source, the WordPress community is always adding more and more plugins and functionality. Once your WordPress blog is set up, it is easy for you to use. If you can use a word processor like Word, you have the skills necessary to blog on WordPress.

Hubspot SoftwareMy second recommendation for a blog platform is HubSpot. HubSpot is a complete internet marketing software package that includes a great blogging platform. The great thing about the HubSpot platform is that it helps you write good blog posts as you go along. It checks, as you write, to make sure you are including your keywords. It will let you know if your post is not long enough or if it is too long. It will prompt you to do all the things you need to do to create great blog posts that will help your business.

Of course, there are other advantages to using HubSpot. In addition to the blogging platform, the software offers you unbelievable analytics. You can follow those that visit your blog and website individually. There is a keyword grader included that helps you pick the best keywords for your business and will even suggest keywords for you. The HubSpot software will help you as you create offers for your business and include them on your blog and website by giving you an offer button creator and forms that will help you deliver coupons, white papers, ebooks and more from your blog.

Blogging for Business Seminar

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Blog Specials


In a recent webinar by internet scientist, Dan Zarrella, he told of his survey of social media users and their connection with blogging. He found that 71% of social media users reported that blogs influence their purchasing decisions either somewhat or very much. He also found that over 80% of them read blogs once a day or more. Social media users are using blogs to research products before purchasing. One of the best quotes by Dan is “The takeaway here is that if you’re not blogging, and you’re a marketer or small business owner, you’re doing something wrong. You’re not doing everything you could possibly be doing.”

Blogging for Business - Social Media ConnectionDoes your target market use social media such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? If so, your blog can be a powerful marketing tool. Feeding your helpful, relevant blog posts to social media is a great way to promote your content and attract more people to your site. Remember, studies show that companies that blog get 55% more visitors.

Think of all the content you can post on your blog! You can answer questions, post about events and interesting industry news. There are so many ways you can use a blog to establish yourself as the go-to expert in your field and to communicate better with your customers.

Blogs don’t have to be long dissertations. In fact, in many cases, shorter blog posts are more effective. In a world where so many people are using social media, easy to read, short articles full of helpful information are not only great for your readers, but probably easier for you to create as well.

The social media connection for those blogging for business is key.

Blogging for Business SeminarAt the Blogging for Business Seminar you will learn:

  • How to set goals for your blogging efforts so you can measure its effectiveness and know you are going in the right direction.
  • The do’s and don’ts of setting up a blog
  • Terms that will help you as you navigate the blogosphere
  • What technical skills you need
  • What the best platform is for your blog and why
  • What types of content you can create and how to make them effective
  • Time saving tips and tricks
  • How to integrate blogging with social media as well as your website to make it all work together
  • What makes blog articles shareable
  • When is the best time to post

We  will also spend some time creating a list of blog topics that are relevant to your business and a plan for how to use those topics to reach out to your target market.

From the Blogging for Business Seminar, you will have a plan going forward to make blogging an effective and profitable part of your  marketing efforts.