How To Use an Online Sales and Marketing Funnel to Grow Your Business

Hello business friend! In this episode of the ‘In The Trenches Small Business Marketing Podcast” I share a graphic of a simple sales and marketing funnel and I show you how you can apply it to your business.

Click the play button below to watch:

If you found value in this video please do share the love with some of the social media buttons below. That will help us get this in front of other business owners who need this info.

To your success,
Kyle Battis signature

5 Effective Ways to Optimize your Google AdWords Landing Pages

See How to Easily Optimize Your Google AdWords Landing PagesResponsive Design 1

Although most business owners will move heaven and earth to optimize the smallest of details on their websites, getting them to pay the same amount of attention to Google AdWords landing page optimization is a tall task indeed. And yet these are the same people that will wonder aloud why their landing pages don’t convert as well as they think they should.

There are some definite best practices you’ll need to make sure you are following to get the best results you can. Let’s have a look at 5 of these, and see if you can’t improve the performance of your landing pages!

5 Tips for optimizing your Google AdWords landing pages

1.  Employ Responsive Design for your pages – Make the effort to ensure that your Google AdWords Landing pages are mobile ready, and render well on all devices and formats. Having a responsive site is essential in today’s mobile-first environment, as more than half of all search now emanates from a mobile platform of some sort.

2.  Write great headlines – This is your first, and in many cases only chance to hook your visitors into reading on and absorbing your offer. Studies are showing that you have less than 5 seconds to make this connection, or they are gone. Study how to create awesome headlines, and test several.

3.  Create crystal-clear Calls to Action – Leave no doubt about what you want your readers to do. Not only lead them there; tell them exactly! Buy Now! Click Here! Download your free report! Don’t leave your intentions or their next step to their imagination.

4.  Use social proof – People are given to following the crowd, so if you have testimonials, reviews or product endorsements by all means find a way to get some of these in front of your audience. Your conversions will improve if you do.

5.  Split Test everything – Many people don’t test simply because they think they don’t have the time. This is wrong-headed. Would you rather have fewer sales? This is the alternative to testing. A simple A/B test on the important elements of your landing page can do wonders for your conversion rates!

There you have it my friend – 5 ways to ensure your Google AdWords landing pages are optimized for the best results.

To your success,

Kyle Battis signature

Why You Absolutely Need a Content Marketing Calendar

Check Out how to create your Own Content Marketing CalendarContent Marketing Calendar

One of the hallmarks of companies that rock content marketing is that they without fail have a content marketing plan along with a content marketing calendar. Content marketing has become a many-headed hydra, all of which require care and attention.

Keeping track of all the many venues in which you publish, tracking production, holding people accountable, and certainly not least, executing a coherent strategy makes going forward without a content marketing calendar downright foolhardy. So let’s have a look at how you can construct a workable content marketing calendar and strategy.

Who should do this?

Even if you are a large company with several departments making use of the calendar, you’ll want to have a person dedicated to ensuring the overall plan is advancing, and people are being held accountable. This presupposes that you have a single content marketing calendar. We think this is best as even while there may be different people or teams working on different aspects of content creation, it is vital that there is a common vision and goals at play here. Having more than one calendar is asking for it, and really hampers efforts at promotion. Resist the calls for independence here.

This is to lessen the chances for assignments and deadlines falling too far behind, and jeopardizing marketing promotions that are inextricably intertwined.

What should you use for a content marketing calendar?

This can be a simple spreadsheet customized for the task. This is usually sufficient. There are many other forms of collaborative software if you have a large organization or want more automation.

Software like Basecamp, Teamwork and others provide useful platforms for running projects, and can help you keep track of complicated campaigns easily. There is a cost and learning curve involved with this, however.

In most cases a simple solution is best, and we would encourage this to start. Moving up to more sophisticated systems can always happen down the road if need be.

What is Hashtag Marketing and How Can It Help You?

5 Tips for Winning with Hashtag MarketingHashtag Marketing

Hashtags have taken the world by storm, and the arena of marketing is no exception. They are in nearly every post, for many different reasons. Born on Twitter, which remains the most prominent venue for hashtags, they have become a form of shorthand for a world that’s already short!

Now even Emojis are getting into the act, with Instagram announcing support for the little darlings. (Not yet on other networks)

Hashtags help you discover more about your audience, find out what they’re talking about and interested in, encourage engagement, and also help you with branding.

To get you pointed in the right direction, here are 5 tips you can use to make your hashtag marketing more effective.

5 Tips for making the most of Hashtag Marketing

Research what your audience is talking about – One of the highest and best uses for hashtags is to grab some quick intelligence on what your audience is already thinking, reacting to, and talking about. This is golden, and can help the entire scope of your marketing efforts.

Consider paid promotion – Once you find you have a popular campaign going, seriously consider using Twitter’s promoted hashtag feature to add fuel to the fire. If your message is clever and you can make it onto the trends list, you’ll have won big.

Utilize local hashtags for brand promotion – If you’re attempting to promote more than one local location of your business, it can be a good idea to employ locations in your hashtags. This is a quick and easy way to grab some Twitter search visitors from those looking for a service in a specific area.

Join the conversation on trending hashtags – A great way to leech off of popular hashtags is to simply join the conversation, but by adding your own unique voice to the mix. An excellent way to leverage the popularity of popular hashtags.

Energize your other marketing efforts with hashtags – The judicious use of hashtags can be an easy way to amplify your already running marketing campaign. Pointing to and drawing attention with the sensible use of hashtags can bring you visitors you may not have had.

Hashtags are easy to use, and can be an added tool in your marketing arsenal. Start using them today!

What Was the Google Phantom Update About?

Were Your Sites Affected by Google Phantom?Google Update

You may have noticed this, it may have gone totally unnoticed, and for a few of us, it had a major impact. But recently Google rolled out what has been termed the Phantom update. It hasn’t gotten as much attention as the more famous creatures, Penguin and Panda, but had significant impact all the same for more than a few websites.

While Google says it does between 500-600 search algorithm updates a year, many of them are very minor, and attract little attention. Others, like the aforementioned critters, wreak havoc.

This one is between those. Let’s take a quick look at what the Phantom update was all about, and how you can respond if needed.

The Google Phantom update – What was it about?

Google warned us all that they were on the warpath for thin and poor content, and it looks like Phantom is another update designed to combat this pox on search engine results.

This included sites like HubPages, eHow, WikiHow, and others. It is also looking to more domain oriented, meaning that more than the offending pages could be affected. Not good.

Several specific things got their attention this time around. A few of them are going to sound familiar to many who got burned in other recent Google updates. Pages with “thin” content, meaning scant content on the page designed merely to get a click or another action, were targeted. Also high on the list were pages with “clickbait” headlines, as well as lots of stacked videos, too much poor user-generated content, pages with tons of ads, or unedited curated pieces.

Key takeaways for your use

If you think that you may have fallen prey to the Phantom update, the first thing you’ll want to do is to perform a sitewide content audit. Once you’ve got the data showing you which of your pages were negatively affected, fix or delete this content. Often in the case of old stale content, it’s advisable to lose it entirely than to try to apply a band-aid.

What you want to do here is come out of this with your best foot forward, showing Google and all who arrive at your pages that it contains the most relevant and current content you can provide. Do that and you needn’t worry about Phantoms!

10 LinkedIn Tips You Want to Know!

10 Cool Tips for Your LinkedIn ToolboxLinkedIn Tips

LinkedIn has become ever more the go-to source for business leads and connections, but only if you are able to get out of the beginner mode. There are several great features which allow you to make connections, share content and extend your reach exponentially, but to be able to make the best use of these you need to be not only active but smart.

The best way to mine LinkedIn for leads and sales is to get active here. In order to help you get going with that, here are 10 terrific LinkedIn tips.

10 LinkedIn Tips to Maximize Your Reach

Optimize your URL – Take a minute and change your LinkedIn URL to coincide with your company’s name or online handle. Be consistent with other social properties if you can.

Create a Profile Badge – Take advantage of being able to add a LinkedIn badge on your site or blog. It will help add to your connections and site authority. There are a few different designs to choose from.

Be sure to optimize your page – Complete and make the most of all the features you can when it comes to your company page. You definitely want to make a brand statement.

List your skills to get endorsements – Be sure you list your particular skills when filling out your profile. This enables your connections to make that easy + click to endorse you for any of these they’re aware of.

Leverage your LinkedIn Groups – There are two distinct advantages here: you can direct message members of the group who you are not connected with, and you’ll also be able to view profiles.

Create Showcase Pages – Since LinkedIn got rid of the Products & Services tab, you’ll want to use Showcase Pages to promote products and services directly.

Directly mail your group – A cool little feature called LinkedIn Announcements allows you to directly mail the members of your LinkedIn groups once weekly.

Use Saved Searches – Are you aware that you can save your searches on LinkedIn and they will automatically send new leads to you based on what your search criteria is? Awesome.

Ask for Introductions – Find someone connected to one of your connections that you’d like to connect with? Simply ask them for an introduction, or permission to say that you two are connected. This is very effective and can help you get great connections you might otherwise be unable to.

Reorder Your LinkedIn Skills – You now have the ability to edit your skills and within that you can reorder your skills to emphasize what you’d like to. It can also lessen the number of no-picture endorsers present there.

3 Tips for Managing Social Media for Small Businesses

Does your Small Business Flounder with Social Media? See these 3 Tips!Social Media Platforms

Okay, it’s 2015: do you know where your social media is? We can all agree (at least I hope so) that social media is not only where the people are, it has also become a viable source of traffic, engagement and marketing for almost any business that would choose to make use of it.

Since we all know that, let’s concentrate on what it will take to start making this a reality on your small business, and sooner rather than later!

3 Tips for getting started with social media in your small business

Decide on your social strategy – You must have a clear idea what you hope to accomplish with social media before expecting it to generate huge following and massive results. Determine what your goals are and how you want to brand yourself, handle customers, advertise, and engage. Check out what each platform can do for your business. Not all are created equal.

Eliminate the bad fits – There is no sense attempting to use a platform if the demographic and content shared there is of no use to your or your audience. Using Pinterest for example, which is heavily skewed to a female audience may or may not be a good fit for your small business. Once you’ve eliminated the sites that are less than good fits, go with what’s left.

Be Consistent – None of this matters if you only post twice a month and don’t provide value or access to your company. Once you decide to do this and have a plan, go all in! It will only work if you are devoted to consistently providing value and engaging with people. Anything less will be sniffed out as a lame effort to grab some cheap traffic and leads, rather than trying to actually engage with your audience.

Once you’ve laid the groundwork for a successful social media initiative, you can begin to cultivate and build the type of following that will not only look forward to hearing from you, but will gladly help you spread the word.

7 Examples of Subject Lines that Get Your Emails Opened

Subject Lines that Get Emails Opened More FrequentlyEmail

Some emails subject lines get far more opens that others. The purpose of the subject line is to get the email opened, nothing more. Making promises we can’t keep, or being overly sensational will cause antipathy and produce unsubscribes.

Your job is to know which these are and use them and resist the urge to get clever and try and use clickbait and other tactics that may actually work against you. It’s much better to deal in truth, and utilize proven subject line types that employ sound principles to get your emails opened. Listed below are 7 of the top opened types of email subject lines.

7 Types of email subject lines that get clicked!

Emphasize Benefits: You need to tell the reader what they get out of this: everyone wants to know this. Injecting a solid benefit in your subject line, usually with an implied promise of some sort will work wonders for your open rates. One example could be “Create a second income stream in less than 30 days!”

Ask Questions: By doing so you’re begging a response that often gets answered by them opening the email to find the answer. “Do you really have time to do all this work yourself?”

How-To: Information is golden, and assuming your audience is the least bit interested in your subject, many will want to find out “How to make a Killer Bacon Omelette in 7 Minutes and 15 Seconds!”

Targeted your audience: Knowing exactly who you are talking to helps increase open rates by hitting the particular interests they have. “Only open if you’re a frequent traveler tired of all the standing in lines!”

Use Lists and Tips: Providing quick research for people is a proven winner, and will get you great open rates. “7 Tips and Tricks for Ditching Your Lousy Job”

Superlatives: “Fastest”, “Easiest” and “Best” when used in your emails are among the most opened subject lines you’ll find. Nobody wants to spend time separating the wheat from the chaff.

Answers: Frequently email subject lines that provide answers for common questions in your market are top openers. “10 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Paid What You’re Worth!”

Try using some of these types of subject lines and see your open rates soar!

What Does Facebook’s Instant Articles Mean for You?

What to Think About Facebook’s Instant ArticlesFacebook Instant Articles

A lot of the buzz encircling Facebook recently is the launch of Facebook Instant Articles. This mobile-only platform is effectively raising the bar for content publishers by enabling you to create an incredibly rich, multi-layered approach to content that will amaze and engage.

Facebook Instant Articles are built on concepts taken from Facebook Paper, and perhaps the best thing about it is that it allows mobile pages to load a stunning 10X faster than normal mobile pages, providing a near “instant” experience. The visual aspect of these pages are really amazing, with a lot of versatility, creativity and control built right in.

Not only that, but can we say that they are just flat out amazing. The total look and experience of Instant Articles will leave you wanting nothing less! This shiny new toy Facebook is rolling out is currently being tested at this moment by only 9 major publishers: The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild.

Some of the cool features of Facebook Instant Articles

  • Want to put in embedded tweets, YouTube videos, photos, image galleries, videos and interactive graphics directly into the posts? Not a problem! They will even start directly up, increasing time on site and engagement.
  • Need more detail? You can use the handy zoom feature to have a closer look into videos, images and maps.
  • Like what you see? You can Like or comment on pages directly inside the app!
  • Publish your own logos and Facebook Fan page follow buttons within the story.
  • Need more stats? Your Google Analytics integrate nicely with the articles.

Although Facebook Instant Articles are only in Beta mode now, Facebook wants to eventually roll this out to anyone who wants to share stories on Facebook. Facebook is allowing publishers who post sponsored content (like Buzzfeed) to have that content shared. (About the only way anyone not associated with the aforementioned 9 publishers can get their own content on there at the moment)

Facebook’s Instant articles are going to significantly change the way content is presented and viewed on the mobile web. It will set a new standard that will lift expectations of most any content published on the Web.

How to Publish Effectively on LinkedIn

5 Reasons You’ll Want to Publish on LinkedInLinkedIn

Okay, all of you that have published on LinkedIn raise your virtual hands…

That’s what I thought. Not many consider LinkedIn when choosing where to publish content, and in point of fact, that’s a big mistake.

Now that the platform is accessible to all LinkedIn users, we need to reset our minds to think of how LinkedIn can work well for us. To put it simply, LinkedIn is a powerhouse goldmine for content marketers who figure out how to mine it judiciously. In case you need any convincing, we’ve put together 5 great reasons why you need to be using LinkedIn to publish content.

5 Reasons LinkedIn needs to be your content choice!

To build your own authority – Publishing on LinkedIn in front of professionals who take you seriously can go a long way toward helping cement your position as a thought leader in your market.

Rework older content – Recycling good but somewhat older content you have already published on your site is a terrific way to help boost authority and standing. Moreover, most of the audience on LinkedIn probably missed it the first time around! You also have the chance to update it as well.

Getting your content before a targeted audience – This is a professional site populated and frequented by pros, and as such you will find a lot less of the fluff traffic that may otherwise come upon your content. This is accomplished by publishing before your connections, and to LinkedIn Groups for wider reach.

Killer engagement – People active on LinkedIn are highly engaged, and likely to comment and contact you if they see something that appeals to them.

The possible viral effect – One way LinkedIn publishers hit it big is when their content starts to get some traction, LinkedIn often steps in and promotes it on of their Pulse category pages, and even better, sometimes on the home page itself! Do that and you’ll be well on your way to authority status on LinkedIn and off!