How to turn your website into a lead generation machine.
Your website has less than 5 seconds to make an impression. If you aren't making the case for visitors to stay and see what you are all about, you can bet your ass they are leaving.
Here's an easy way to tell whether your visitors have a positive impression of you after visiting your site: Do they call you or fill out your contact form after they have been to your website? If not, it's because they aren't staying around long enough to get engaged with your message.
Here are the 2 things your website MUST do for your visitors in the first 5 seconds of a visit.
So clean it up and make it clear. Need help? You know I'm here for you. Schedule a free call with me and let's talk.
Thanks for spending time with me today. Don't forget to like and share this article with other small business owners. It will help them and make you look like a genius!
Spa Website for SkinPro Studio - Serving Cancer and Maternity Patients, and Educating Skincare Professionals
The site was developed in 3 weeks during March 2016.
The site needed to be:
We created a site that tells the story of SkinPro Studio, and makes it easy for customers to do business with the spa.
With a beautiful custom header image.
And we integrated their MindBody scheduling software into the website in a way that looks seamless to customers. Customers can schedule appointments for themselves at the website. The appointments are saved into the spa's scheduling system, and the customer never leaves the SkinPro Studio website.
And here is what Liz Munn, owner of SkinPro Studio, had to say about working with us:
"Kelly developed my website for my new skincare business. I would highly recommend Kelly for any type of website design. She listened to what was important and provided exactly what I wanted. I find Kelly to be knowledgeable, timely, efficient, and effective in her approach. She is a pleasure to work."
Do you love the way this site turned out? Please like and share this post! Your likes and share help spread the word to other marketers and business owners just like you. And if they like it too, you will look smart and savvy for having helped them find it.
Would you like to talk about your site? Schedule a free website consultation today so we can get started.
It's a fact - new content on your website is good for lead generation. Studies show that the more often a company blogs, the more leads it gets through the website. And according to HubSpot, the smaller the company the larger the benefit in terms of website traffic and leads generated.
So how often is often enough? And is there such a thing as too often?
The answer, in part, can be found in your audience. Business-to-consumer companies benefit more from blogging more often.
Increases from blogging 11+ times a month:
• B2B - 3 times more leads than similar companies posting 4-5 times a month
• B2C - 4.5 times more leads than companies who only post 4-5 times a month
I wasn't able to find a number that could be considered TOO often, although I would suspect you have hit that number once quality begins to suffer. Quality content is King - junk content is always junk.
Can't blog 11 times a month? Do what you can. There are cumulative benefits to posting in your blog. Your posts live forever - they remain on your site where they help to increase your search rank and make your site more find-able by your customers.
For more information check out these quality articles on the same topic:
- HubSpot: How Often Should Companies Blog?
- Scripted: How often should you update your blog?
Need more? Schedule a free website evaluation with me. I would love to talk with you about your website, SEO, and online marketing strategy. And please like and share if you learned something - It helps the people you like get the useful information they need, and you will look like a rock star in the process!
Call me crazy, but I believe there are only 3 reasons for marketing your company: to grow, to reduce costs by creating volume, or in preparation to sell the company. In other words, you are not Coke-a-Cola. You are not creating ‘brand awareness.’ 99% of leaders reading this are looking to gain more sales, donations, or participation.
Each week in this 6 part series we will examine a step in creating Marketing Action Plans that drive business. The first step is goal setting. Know where you are going and don’t ever forget it.
Here’s the thing about modern marketing – everything IS measurable. That’s good news for companies AND marketing departments. When we focus on marketing in ways that are tied to results then the marketing department becomes a revenue center. Even print ad results can be measured when they generate a response via phone or online.
That doesn’t mean that every marketing action can be tied directly to resulting goal behaviors. Certainly there are times when the sale, donation, or participation is the result of a multi-step nurturing process. That’s why its important to define an engagement funnel – it will outline the path from stranger to customer for each priority audience. We’ll talk more about that later in the series.
The over-arching goal for all ads/campaigns, however, will be a measurable increase in sales, donations, or participation. In other words, the goal for a specific ad may be brand awareness, but your goal for the campaign is the measurable increase.
You want the viewer to take notice of your message and DO SOMETHING. And you want that something to move the needle on sales, donations, or participation numbers.
Your Marketing Action Plan goal should state 3 things:
The first step in creating your Marketing Action Plan: Spend some time thinking about your revenue, resources, and plans. Consider ways your company currently generates revenue, and evaluate your plans the future. Also consider your current resources and strengths. Bring your company’s leadership or trusted advisers in, and take their input.
Then, create a document titled “Marketing Action Plan.” Write a short (less than 3 sentences) goal on the first page of your document. Save it somewhere so it will be easy to find. We will continue soon…
Complete this first step as soon as you can. My next article will talk about priority audiences. Knowing your audience helps you understand where to market, what to say, and what to expect.
My next post will talk about your audience. Look for it next week. Until then, please "like" this article using the social links on this page.
Your Chief Marketing Officer has a big job. She works with senior leadership to understand the company's goals, then develops strategies and associated initiatives to move the needle on those goals. On top of that, she leads execution on those strategies and initiatives, and reports on results. Finally, she analyzes the results to optimize successes and plan future initiatives.
And there's more. Today's marketing leaders must have a solid understanding online marketing in addition to traditional marketing techniques. Search optimization, website usability, social media, audience targeting, and email are some of the new proficiencies a CMO has to have. Without a solid grasp of these, opportunities will be missed.
But not all companies have a CMO at their disposal. In the absence of senior marketing leadership, companies may employ a marketing person or team consisting of mid-level professionals focused on executing tasks that come from the CEO or other leadership. Others outsource everything to a firm or firms.
There is real value in having a senior marketing professional sitting between leadership and execution. Only an experience leader can properly ensure alignment between goals, direction, and initiatives. Further, in the same way that marketing and brand touch all parts of a business, marketing leadership should give input on products, plans, and initiatives company-wide.
Whether you plan to use an outsourced CMO for a short period, or long-term, here are some situations in which it's an appropriate solution to consider.
In my opinion, a good outsourced CMO will be focused on finding the highest impact strategies for reaching your ideal customer. This shouldn't include branding or rebranding right away. It SHOULD include strategies for messaging to more customer who resemble or have a personal relationship with your current customers.
CMO outsourcing is a new service my company, Kelly Coulter and Associates, provides to a select few companies. Depending on your needs the cost can be as low as $4500 a month. That's a hell of a savings vs. the $15K or more a full-time, in-house CMO can cost.
And there are others out there. Lots of consultants and firms are offering this service. Google it - you'll see. Whoever you use remember to check references and ask every question you can think of. Get your candidate to meet with everyone he/she will be working with, and make an informed decision.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed the article, please click "like" on the Facebook or Twitter link below. And if you learned something new, share it with your friends and network! Your likes and shares help me spread information and ideas to more professionals just like you!
The last call I had in 2015 was with one of my favorite new clients, Bronxville Wellness Sanctuary in New York. I was a little nervous going in to this call because we ran a holiday campaign on Facebook promoting gift cards, and I didn't have access to the part of their system that would show me the sales. So I wasn't going to know the resulting sales numbers until I talked to them.
So, when Stephanie told me not only was the gift card campaign a success, but that their business is up 30% over last year since they started working with me in September, I was floored!
I knew that we were posting the right messages and that we were targeting the people most likely to act on those messages. But I had no idea the strategy had been this effective!
Here is what Stephanie had to say about our work together:
"Since working with Kelly on marketing, social media management and gift certificate campaigns, our business has increased 30%! Kelly and her team are easy, professional and take the time to listen to our vision while also giving us valuable feedback based on their marketing expertise. As a small business, we value this immensely. We are grateful to be partners."
Thanks, Stephanie! We value your partnership, and we are proud to call you clients and friends.
So, you have to be wondering exactly what we did to achieve these fantastic results. If you have ever done a free 20 minute strategy consultation with me you already know that I am happy to hand out free information. Here is the list of work we have done with BWS so far:
So that's the work we have done with BWS so far. And the results have been amazing.
One more thing - this year we will start looking at promoting some of the virtual energy healing services offered by Stephanie at BWS. I have done two virtual energy sessions with Stephanie and - despite the distance between us the sessions were amazing! It was like meditation on steroids. I highly recommend giving it a try!
Questions or comments? Leave them below and I will respond - or Tweet me at @KellyLCoulter. Oh, and if you learned something new from this post I would really appreciate a like and a retweet using the links below.
Maximize what is already working for more sales with less work
Thanksgiving is next week, and with it comes Black Friday and the holiday rush. Before that happens, let's take a look at your plan for December. Have you created a solid plan for increasing holiday sales this season?
It's not too late.
Right now is when you are most likely thinking, "I'm barely keeping my head above water as it is!" With running a business and planning for 2016, who has time to experiment or get creative about the holidays?
Consider trying some new tactics that are proven to get results using your CURRENT traffic. Yep, each of these suggestions works by maximizing on what is already working for you.
These are some tried and true methods for increasing sales with your existing audience. No risky, time consuming traffic generation strategies.
By the way - you guessed it - I can help you implement any of these methods. Email me using the contact form, leave me a comment below, or even tweet me @KellyLCoulter. We will meet to discuss your needs, audience, project, and budget. From there we can identify next steps and do what we need to do to make more sales this holiday. Contact me soon - you are missing sales as we speak!
Did you learn something new? Do me a favor and click the "Like" or "Tweet" button below.
Thanks for spending some time with me! More soon...
This week the state has seen historic rainfall and flooding. In Columbia, SC we have seen 11 dam breaches and at least 15 deaths to date. With evacuations and devastation on the news 24/7, emotions are running high.
So, it's no wonder we have seen some epic successes and failures in the ways businesses used their social media accounts and websites to communicate.
Among the Successes
Local news shows, radio stations and their employees
The persistence, dedication, and humanity of local on air personalities, as well as the staff supporting them, has been nothing short of miraculous. They battled through fatigue (working long hours of constantly evolving information), emotion (watching their own friends and family members lose everything while keeping it together for the viewers), and frustration (I can't count how many times I heard Dawndy Mercer Plank tell viewers to just stay off the roads, only to flash to a new picture of another car stuck in water.)
LESSON: Show up and do your best. Best is the enemy of better in these situations - people don't need polish as much as they need information. Drink lots of coffee and do the work until you can go home and take a nap.
Harvest Hope Food Bank (HarvestHope.org)
My new friends at Harvest Hope have done an admirable job keeping eager donors and volunteers informed about needs. But I was even more impressed when I found out that their marketing director started his new job Wednesday, and the state of emergency was declared on Thursday last week. Thoroughly impressive! I am watching for great things from Ash Little at Harvest Hope. In the meantime, continue to donate at HarvestHope.org.
LESSON: Bloom where you are planted. I doubt anyone could have predicted the situation Ash found himself in during his first days at his new job. No one would have blamed him for going home and saying 'hey, let's try again next week...' But he took put his big boy pants on and fielded interviews with local and national news, sought out opportunities to talk about how the community could get involved, and in general made a real difference.
Totino's Pizza and The Totino's Pizza Lady
When this video clip went viral it was her positive attitude, and love for her doggies and Totino's pizza that gave us all something to smile about.
Afterward, Totino's apparently made contact with the Red Cross to offer disaster recovery relief funds. Classy move, and the right way to handle the extra publicity.
LESSON: Make it about helping, not about your brand.
Among the Failures
Companies using paid content promotion inappropriately
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram now allow advertisers to target ads based on user behavior, geography, and more. This also means ads to specific areas can be TURNED OFF during times like this. Unfortunately, a lot of national brands did not take the opportunity to stop serving ads to us. At times this led to wildly inappropriate content shown in our social feeds during a trying time.
And on the other side of that, some companies actually promoted ads to our area BECAUSE of the flood. There are probably ways this could be used appropriately. However, Duke Energy's paid promotion of this tweet asking people to follow them on Twitter in order to be kept up to date on "storm updates, breaking news, " ... AND ... "energy efficiency tips and more." rubbed me the wrong way. The whole "energy efficiency tips and more" piece gives a little clue that they are using the storm as a way to add to their Twitter followers. It just seemed inappropriate to me.
(Pet peeve alert!! Please, don't ever say 'and more' in your marketing. Ever. No really, ever. If there is 'more', please spell it out or leave it alone. 'And more' is a total waste of 8 characters, and it makes you look like you aren't sure what you offer.)
Al Roker's Smiling Selfie on Twitter
If you missed this here it is. Now on some level I get it - he covers a lot of weather and a lot of tragedies. I have a feeling he has become desensitized. But on the other hand - it's really inappropriate. I mean just look at it. THERE IS A CAR IN A RIVER BACK THERE! Damn.
There is a win here. The apology and retreat was handled beautifully. He said it was inappropriate, admitted he was wrong, and left town. He did NOT try to defend himself (which would have just inflamed the situation.) His apology was sincere and timely.
LESSON: When you screw up apologize, don't try to defend your position, and lay low until the tide goes out.
The Columbia Marriott v. Justin Britt
Then there's the Columbia Marriott's public feud with Justin Britt. Oh man.
So Justin Britt shows up at the Marriott in the middle of a mandatory evacuation with partner, kids, and pets in tow. And apparently, he was unceremoniously turned away because of the pets. It seems to me this would have all blown over with the storm except for 2 things:
1 - Justin Britt knows a lot of people, and
2 - the Marriott showed lack of professionalism and truly bad judgement in their public handling of the shit-storm that followed.
I am not going to detail it all out here (truthfully I don't know all of the details), but I have heard that the Marriott deleted posts, shut their social media accounts down, and yelled at the intern that was handling their social media. A Marriott supporter made a post on the Marriott's Facebook page that disclosed Mr. Britt and his family's address and disparaged the impact the flood had on them.
This story resonated with a lot of people. Those people made a lot of posts. So not all of the social media was under the control of the Marriott OR Mr. Britt. But since this is a post about business online content, let's talk about the business's handling of this situation.
LESSON: Train the person charged with posting your online content. Your online content (website, social, email) is the first thing many customers see. In many cases, it will make the first impression, and it will help people decide whether or not to do business with you. Are you really going to leave this up to an intern? Or an assistant? Or your cousins wife? Invest some money in a professional content manager, or get your content manager some training.
LESSON: Don't attempt to control social media by deleting or planting posts. A professional knows you can't control the conversation. You can only show up and be a part of it. Embrace that fact.
LESSON: Apologize (see the Al Roker section...) OK, so there is a whole debate over whether the Marriott did anything wrong in putting policy over people in this situation. Did the manager have the authority to override corporate policy? I don't know. But I know this - a lot of people felt strongly that the decision to turn this family away was wrong. When public sentiment turns against you, you need to look in the mirror. The people turning against you are the people that keep you in business. Who do you really work for? Apologize and get on with your life, already.
South Carolina can be really proud of our handling of the floods as a state. We came together, protected each other, and helped out wherever we could. There was no looting and very few reports of opportunistic crime. Our businesses donated time and money with abandon.
At the end of the day, the internet content mistakes that were made could have been avoided. Businesses, support your social and website content producers with training!
Leave your comments and additions here. And please share this article with others. Let's continue the discussion in order to learn and grow.
Check me out on the newest live streaming platform - Blab
I was recently interviewed for my friend Sarah Thompson's (MoreMoneyMentoring.com) Blab show. She does a live show every weekday at noon EST.
So Blab is kind of the newest thing. And I have to tell you I really loved the show. The format was great. Blab is super easy and engaging. I loved it.
We talked strategy, why you should have one, and how to get one started. Here is the replay:
I would love to hear your thoughts. Tweet at me while you are watching, or leave me a comment below!
I once heard a CEO tell his sales force, "In the Marines we had a saying - 'pack your shit in a small box'."
I think he was talking about getting past personal issues in order to serve the best interest of the team. Something like that. I'm not really sure. It doesn't matter - that guy was a jerk. He was unceremoniously ousted from the company less than a year later, allegedly for misusing company funds.
As underwhelming as that CEO was in character, he had a point. Pack your shit in a small box. It makes sense. We spend our time and energy on lots of different things, only some of those things serve our best interests.
When it comes to your business, packing your shit in a small box means finding the highest impact priorities, and spending your time only on those. Jim Collins had another way of saying it in Good to Great 'If you have more than 3 priorities you have none.'
This is what my team and I do for companies when I create marketing strategies. We make a comprehensive list of marketing efforts, then we edit, organize, and prioritize. We unpack the mental piles your company has been hoarding, spread them out on the front lawn, and get rid of what you don't need. We pack the 'keepers' into a small, actionable, box.
But how will packing your shit in a small box help you reach your goals? Having a small list of high priority items will focus your efforts on the things that matter. It's like panning for gold. You take a pile of dirt, put it through a sifter, and you end up with a smaller pile that you can take to the bank.
Here are some reasons it could be the best thing you ever do for your business.
A small box is:
There is a mental cleansing that happens when you list out everything you are doing, want to do, know you should be doing, etc. Here is how you and your team can do this:
This activity is a great way to stimulate discussion, build teams, and clean the gunk from the ole mental pipes. But the next steps will help you get even more from it.
Saying "hell yes!" to one thing means saying "no" to a million others. Which means you are going to have to pick priorities here. At the end of this exercise you want to end up with no more than three clear "hell yes!" priorities. So the next step:
I like to call this "identifying the low hanging fruit". Pick the priorities that are ripest based on the most easily attainable, highest impact tasks.
Sometimes you are going to have a hard time identifying just 3 "hell yes!" tasks. I like to rely on a fourth criteria in these cases. Order the tasks by their measure-ability. You can't optimize what you can't measure, so weed out the things that aren't reliably measured.
So you have your "hell yes!" marketing priorities. This is a good start. But there is a lot more to consider.
Your "hell yes!" priorities hold a lot of information about what is important to you. Consider extending them to other areas. For example: if one of your defined priorities is "Facebook promotions that get our customers to come to the store" consider extending that effort. Can parallel efforts be run in Twitter? Can you study the people on Facebook who are responding to your promotion in order to maximize on the traits that cause them to respond favorably to your request? Take a deep dive into these priorities and maximize the impact of your work on these.
Taking a deep dive will have a few benefits. First, you will learn more about your audience. And second, you will learn more about your message. Your deep dive will help you understand your message and priorities thoroughly. Albert Einstein said "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." Your deep dive will help you understand your product, your message, and the finer discussion points, in a way you couldn't have imagined possible without it.
This is the piece that is going to propel you forward. State some goals that could be served by the small box priorities. Get hyper-focused on those goals. And see if you don't exceed them.
So I want to issue a challenge. It will be simple and beneficial. Let's call it the 5 day "Pack your s#!t in a small box" challenge. Schedule a nice 1- 2 hour slot with your team. Take some time to mentally unpack everything onto the front lawn, sort through it for the most important stuff, and pack that stuff into your small box.
Post your results here, or tweet me at @kellyLCoulter. I can't wait to hear how this goes for you! I'm sure you're going to learn a lot, and exceed some goals along the way.