15 Landing Page Optimization Tips in Fewer Than 140 Characters

It’s an ordinary weekday night. The stress of the work day is getting to you, and all you can think of is that Hawaii vacation you’ve been dreaming about since college. In the heat of the moment, you fire up your laptop and begin googling “best Hawaii resorts”, just to see what comes up.

An ad immediately catches your attention. Oceanfront dining, pools and lush landscapes? Hell yeah, you are signing up for that!

best starwood

You excitedly click on the ad, hoping it would take you somewhere magical.

starwood

The beautiful landscape catches your attention right away. This definitely looks like somewhere you’d rather be right now. But wait a minute… you can’t help but feel a bit let down by the lack of mention of oceanfront dining and other amenities. You aren’t even sure this resort is located on Hawaii, until you read the little paragraph of text below the sub-headline. And what about this “location, location, location” headline? Is this a real estate ad? Somewhat confused, you hesitantly press the back button.

You decide to give the second ad a try. Booking 4 nights and get the 5th free sounds like a good deal.

best hawaii resorts

You are greeted by this simple landing page:

turtle bay landing page

While the navigation bar is certainly distracting, it only took you a second to locate the offer promised by the ad (4th night free instead of 5th, but hey, no one is complaining) with an eye-catching CTA (“Book Now >”) right beside it, as well as a supporting statement (“Save 25%!”). Now it’s up to you to book that trip, if you so desire.

All of this goes to show that landing pages can really make or break a marketing campaign.

No matter what types of campaigns you are running, chances are you will need landing pages. Landing pages play a huge role in getting your site visitors to take specific actions, whether it’s to buy a beach towel, sign up for a webinar, or request a product demo. If you are already spending so much money driving traffic to these landing pages, why not put in some extra effort optimizing them to maximize conversions?

So before you pack your favorite swimwear, take a note of these 15 digestible and tweetable snippets of landing page wisdoms. Bon voyage!

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6 Questions to Answer Before Creating a Marketing Plan

From concept development to product design to beta testing, your product comes a long way from inception to completion. You are overworked and exhausted but excited and hopeful as the launch date looms closer. You might even daydream about launch parties, media interviews, and all that glamorous post-launch stuff.

But let’s backtrack for a moment and focus on the pragmatic side of getting a business off the ground: your marketing plan. Too often, startups launch without a carefully planned out marketing strategy that documents their goals, product positioning and messaging, target market, sales and marketing strategies, measurement process, key dates and deliverables, etc.

A lot of thinking, planning, researching, and even consulting are required to produce an agile and realistic marketing plan that is specifically tailored to your business. If you are unsure about where to begin, a series of tough “prompt questions” might just be what you need to kickstart the process.

Here is a list of 6 questions for you to ponder before developing your marketing plan. You might not have the answers to some of these questions right away, and that is okay. Keep these in mind as you continue to develop and revamp your marketing plan as your startup matures over time.

1. What are the characteristics of people that you want to target?

What is your typical prospective customer like? What is their education background? How old are they? Where do they live? Do they have kids? How often do they shop for groceries? What do they have for breakfast: oatmeal or cornflakes? How do they enjoy their long weekends? Not all of these questions will be of relevance to your business, you have to decide which demographic and psychographic details would be most valuable to you.

Through research and surveys, you will eventually gather enough information on your target customers and be able to build an archetypal model of your typical buyer (also called buyer persona) that will help you gain a deeper understanding of their needs and wants regarding what you have to offer.

2. What is the best way to communicate with your customers?

Do your target customers log into Facebook 8 times a day? Do they spend as much time on their mobile device as they do on their laptop? Is face-to-face communication the only way to get through to them? Do they even own an email account?

It’s important to learn about the digital habits of your target customers, so you can catch their attention in their preferred communication channels. For instance, a millennial who would never open an email newsletter might be tempted to click on an ad embedded within their favorite mobile app. A mid-career professional might click on a sponsored message on LinkedIn that interests them but might not even notice the offer if it’s displayed on Buzzfeed. A senior citizen might sit through the ads on TV but doesn’t have the same patience for radio station’s commercial breaks.

As businesses, it makes sense to recognize your buyer persona’s preferred ways of communication and cater to them. Knowing when and where your customers are most receptive to your marketing messaging, and seizing these opportunities to present them relevant offers when they are in the right mindset will almost certainly get you better results than shooting in the dark.

3. How does your ideal buyers assess the solution that they want to buy?

When it comes to making purchase decisions, we all have our own quirks and methods. Some of us ask our friends for recommendations, some browse for reviews online, others prefer to conduct a thorough comparison research, and the truly daring ones make their purchases spontaneously. Which of these brackets does your buyer persona fall into?

In reality, it’s probably a combination of all of the above, so make sure you cover all of your bases by having great online customer reviews (that hopefully appear on the first page of Google), a vibrant brand identify and most importantly, a product that’s actually worthy of word-of-mouth buzz.

4. What is your business’ unique selling point?

What values can you bring to your buyer persona? Having great features and low price points definitely help but you need to dig a little deeper to uncover the unique benefits of your products. Part of that involves learning the way people perceive the values that you deliver, and communicating your unique selling point in a language that your customers can relate.

For instance, when someone is in the mood to purchase a bigger TV, they might think “I want a TV that makes me feel like I’m right in the stadium when I watch sports”. That person is less likely to think “I could really use a 60-inch HD TV with LED backlighting that’s less than $1000″. Therefore you need to phrase your unique selling point in a way that matches the way customers think.

5. What are the competitive alternatives to your solutions?

Besides purchasing your solutions, do your customers have other viable alternatives? Regardless of the industry that you are in, there is a high probability that the answer to that question is a resounding “Yes”.

Why? Because consumers can simply go to a competitor, or better yet, ignore the problem altogether. Do people really need a new pair of sunglasses for driving when most cars come with a sun visor? Can people clean their own apartment with mops and brooms instead of buying a cleaning robot? Who needs complicated HR software when the tasks can be done through Microsoft Excel?

Yes, people have options. It is therefore your job to convince your target audience that your solution is worth their consideration, and that its cost far outweighs the headache and inconvenience they would otherwise need to endure.

6. What tactics are right for your business?

Every week we hear about the release of a new marketing tool that claims to be the next big thing and makes digital marketers bright eyed and bushy tailed. Coupled with the ever expanding list of marketing channels, it’s easy to get caught up in what’s hot and trendy and lose sight of the big picture.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter if a particular tactic has worked for someone else in the past, and it certainly doesn’t matter if it’s the latest and coolest thing that everyone else is talking about. Marketing tactics work because they are specific to a particular company. The best mix of marketing tactics that will work for you will most certainly depend on your buyer persona, their buying journey, and more.

Conclusion

In the midst of all the logistical chaos, technical roadblocks and legal obstacles, it’s easy to be sidetracked by competing priorities at a startup. Things are moving fast, and a rigid marketing plan might seem obsolete.

On the other hand, having a well-crafted marketing plan never hurts any business. If anything, it anchors the key components of your marketing strategy and keeps everyone on the same page regarding the big picture.

So book a meeting with your co-founders and try to answer these 6 questions together as a team. Once you have the most critical elements of your marketing plan nailed down, half the battle is already won. Good luck!

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Hiring Top Digital Marketing Talent: What You Need to Look For [Infographic]

Hiring can be a bit like dating at times. Before a commitment is made, both parties evaluate the prospect of moving the relationship forward and reserve the right to back out at any moment.

In digital marketing, the complexity of hiring is compounded by the fact that the growing need for digital marketing talent gives candidates a lot more options than before while the quality of candidates is not always easy to assess.

So if you are part of a startup and are looking to bring on digital marketers, how do you differentiate the great ones from the mediocre ones? This infographic outlines the specific qualifications you need to look for in your candidates.

Hiring Top Digital Marketing Talent

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