Why A Blog Post + A Landing Page Is A Lethal Combination

blog-post-landing-page

It’s hard to run a business. You know that. And most entrepreneurs gleefully embrace this fact. The reality of it, however, can still give you goose bumps.

Think about this: Amazon has been in business more than two decades now and it still doesn’t make much in terms of profit.

While investors have undying love for the company, it barely scratches the surface of net gains. Meanwhile, it expands, offers free shipping, buys new businesses, and adds more products to its seemingly endless shelves. According to an article by Meagan Clark and Angelo Young on ibtimes.com, the online retailing behemoth recently reported $17 billion in sales but with a $41 million loss.

Meanwhile, Twitter is something everyone uses and its future is still uncertain (waiting for its advertising model to work). In the year 2011, Sprint Nextel, AMR, Sears, and MGM resorts were all losing money as Rick Aristotle Munarriz noted on Daily Finance.

Why are we discussing businesses losing money here? What has this got to do with blogging and landing pages? Now, these are large businesses. They have attractive stock prices and investors love them. Yet, these companies barely make money. What can a small business do? How does a small business hope to make a sustainable profit given a situation like this?

While there is no magic formula, a great piece of advice is “keep your expenses down and go smart”. Make use of resources best suited to lean businesses. The giants cannot adapt fast. But you can! Use content and digital marketing to your advantage; use blogging in combination with landing pages.

Here’s why it’s a lethal combination that holds its own over other free and paid options.

PPC + Landing Pages Works but it’s Expensive

Phil Frost of MainStreet ROI explains why AdWords could prove to be expensive for your business.

Don’t get me wrong. PPC is easy, quick, and gets you results. It’s highly targeted advertising and with much lower risk than other paid channels or traditional advertising. It is just that you would have to know how to do it right.

Phil points out that the default settings on AdWords are built to make you lose money. Second, not all businesses fully understand how AdWords works and they don’t go much beyond pointing simple ads to their homepages. Third, most firms do not have a framework or a checklist to work with Adwords. Finally, organizations don not always track clicks from campaigns to see if this works in tandem with their business goals (if at all they have them clearly defined).

There is a lot at stake here. If you have the budget, you can certainly do PPC with landing pages. It is just not as straightforward as you might think, though. For one, putting up ads on Google or Bing and then waiting for traffic to come in only to convert is not a one-time process. You would start with segmentation, move on to geographic targeting, adding and removing keywords, creating ad copy, assets, and message matching. You would then have to optimize your landing pages, test frequently, and then go back to work on your ads again.

It does not end. So even with a budget, you still need to have the expertise and embrace learning curve.

Blog Posts Provide Content, Landing Pages Trigger Action

If you have to spend resources, why not do it with blog posts and landing pages instead of PPC? Your budget spend is reduced, and you have more room to experiment.

That’s not the only thing in favor of blog posts and landing pages. Blog posts are informational. They provide context to your readers. When you make a relevant offer with a blog post, your chances of conversion are a lot higher than an ad with a few characters and a landing page that shows up from nowhere and only has a hope of matching the ad message.

For instance, see this WordPress Handbook for first time users. This is an excellent collection of resources for WordPress beginners, but you can’t expect users to access it in a browser all the time. As a result, it can be forgotten after a while. Giving it away an eBook or in a PDF format could get WPKube an email subscription while the PDF stays longer on the subscribers’ devices.

Some companies go even further to create landing pages, which are themselves doorways to more information instead of making any direct offers. Shopify, for instance, has a resource doorway to starting a retail business, leading potential customers to take action, with all options taken care of:

blog-post-landing-page-shopify

More Toom To Explain

How many times have you heard the phrase “Let me explain…”? You have heard it because it is common, and it often works. Salespeople use it all the time. People who have vested interested in your vote use it relentlessly. If you are a marketer or a business owner, so should you.

But when ads and updates have character limits, how much convincing can you possibly do? What if the prospect wants to know more? Your ad cannot explain so much to a prospect. If a prospect had to click on an ad, go to a landing page, figure out further details about your services or products, and then come back to signup as a lead, your paid advertising is not really doing justice to your budget, is it?

Meanwhile, a blog post can already be a pre-emptive explanation. A landing page with an offer directly related to the blog post can boost your conversions sky high.

Knowledge + Trust = Better Conversions

When you blog, you are letting your heart out with a voice. Your customers get to know the real you. Names have faces and your writing has a voice. This is as personal as it can get. Customers feel that there are real people behind a business.

From an advertising perspective, this beats any ad served by technology. It beats anything automated. It also beats any hard-sell tactic.

Landing pages, of course, are a means to an end, leading your potential customers from “reading and knowing and trusting” mode to a more active “take action now” mode.

That is why a combination of landing pages with offers highly relevant to the topic of a blog post makes tremendous sense. It is no accident that companies like HubSpot, QuickSprout and Unbounce use it all the time. For example, HubSpot includes a free resource with a CTA at the end of every blog post:

Wrapping it Up

We always believe that no one method or channel is a permanent bet. The best kind of digital marketing is usually a mix of strategies, tactics, and marketing channels. It is also about tweaking, experimenting, testing, and picking what works.

It is not just PPC, SEO, social media, or email marketing. The best marketing strategy is a combination of all of these. This is why we call it the “Marketing Mix.”

Are you using blog posts to drive traffic to your landing pages? Are you making offers your readers cannot refuse? Please share your content marketing tactics with us, and let us know what is working for you and what is not.

Survey Shows Millennials Willing To Pay For Loyalty Programs

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Build Customer Loyalty

Free shipping and special discounts were top reasons for joining.

A recent survey by LoyaltyOne has found that 62 percent of respondents overall – and 75 percent of Millennials between 18-24 and 77 percent aged 25-34 —  would join a fee-based rewards program if their favorite retailer offered one.  Almost half (47%) of all respondents said paid programs have better rewards, and 61% of those 18 to 24 and 54% of those 25 to 34 said so.

The survey also found that free shipping (69 percent) and special discounts (67 percent) made the loyalty programs valuable to respondents.

Consumers reported that they gave high marks to paid loyalty programs like Amazon Prime or even membership-based warehouse retailers like Costco. The explanation is obvious: when loyalty programs require an upfront fee, it means that customers have already invested in the retailer and therefore is more likely to make purchases from them to recoup their investment.

A recent study from Millward Brown Digital found that Amazon Prime members convert 74 percent of the time on Amazon.com, according to, compared to 13 percent for non-prime members.

The LoyaltyOne study also found:

  • Nearly half (47%) said that fee-based programs offer better rewards than free programs, with a significantly larger number of millennials – 61% of 18-24 year-olds and 54% of 25-34 year-olds – reporting that fee-based rewards are better.
  • Slight more women (67 percent) than men (64 percent) reported that rewards are worth paying for.
  • Ranked by category, respondents ranked Grocery and Mass merchandise highest (35 percent), followed by Credit Card rewards (26 percent), Specialty Retail (13 percent), Travel (18 percent) and Restaurants (9 percent).
  • Meanwhile, roughly one-third of 18-24 year-olds (32 percent) and of 25-34 year-olds (34 percent) reported that they have never been offered membership in a fee-based program, compared to one-quarter for the general population. This would suggest a ripe opportunity for brands and retailers to target their loyalty programs.

“These results should attract the attention of brands considering a shift to fee-based loyalty programs as marketers look for ways to create competitive differences and lock in customer spend against a backdrop of waning program effectiveness and engagement challenges,” LoyaltyOne Consulting associate partner Lance Du Chateau said. “The traditional spend-earn-redeem reward program doesn’t make sense for all companies and customers, and fee-based value propositions increasingly are a topic of conversation. More marketers should explore this approach.”

Millennials Prefer Native Apps For Mobile Shopping

Christine Kerr

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Millennials Prefer Native Apps For Mobile Shopping

Native apps provided better experiences than companies’ mobile sites

A recent survey from Forbes and Stanford that polled more than 1,600 millennial consumers has found that native apps are the preferred tool for mobile shopping.

According to the results, almost half (47 percent) have downloaded at least one mobile shopping app to their smartphone, with Amazon, Etsy, Forever21, and Wanelo ranking as the most popular native app downloads. Millennials also favored apps from Forever 21, Starbucks, JackThreads, and Modcloth.

When asked why they downloaded native apps, 54 percent of the millennials said it was because they offer a better experience than the company’s mobile site, followed by discounts or lower prices (27 percent).  Just 2 percent said it was to shop while not on their computer, and 4 percent said using a native app was mandatory to purchase a particular product.  This seems counter to prevailing wisdom that states that native apps provide a more personalized shopping experience.

According to Retail Dive, native shopping apps are the latest tools to help retailers cash in as sales executed on mobile devices are expected to nearly double to $280 billion worldwide in 2015. This is particularly true in relation to attracting the millennial customers.

And as Integrated Solutions for Retailers reported, sales via mobile devices are driving revenue. For example,Amazon has announced that sellers on Amazon sold more than 2 billion items worldwide in 2014, setting a new record for sales.  In 2014, Amazon also introduced the Amazon Seller App to facilitate the management of sellers’ business on Amazon via their mobile devices.  And sellers from more than 100 different countries were able to fulfill orders on Amazon to customers in 185 countries by using Fulfillment by Amazon services.

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5 Subtle But Effective Digital Marketing Strategies

5 Subtle But Effective Digital Marketing Strategies
Image credit: Entrepreneur Media Inc.
JUNE 29, 2015

The buzz phrase in digital marketing has been “content is king” over the past few years. As entrepreneurs, we all know the only constant in our world is change. And with that, content marketing is evolving. Most content is creating noise and assaulting our senses as consumers.  It is time to maximize our efforts, simplify and build content that engages, acquires and converts.

Welcome to the age of the “sales trailer,” the creative pieces of content that get you to go to the movie that took millions of dollars, teams of talented people and years to create. The same is happening to our businesses: We have the drive and ambition to build incredible products or services and we want to tell everyone everything about it. We need to realize that it’s not about us but about entertaining them — the customers that buy the tickets to our movies.

But it’s no longer how much. Below are the trends I see influencing less-is-more in digital marketing.

1. Precedent set: Apple’s minimalism movement wins

The standard has been set in terms of design, product and messaging. The marriage of boldness and simplicity has changed the digital marketing game forever. The most successful and iconic brands of the day — Apple, Uber, Nike, Google — all market using bold strategies that say very little. Their success is due to creating massive channels of advocates. As well as their ability to brand an instantly recognizable image or slogan that instills particular values and warrants a calculable response.

2. No one really reads,  they digitally skim

You are probably skimming this article. I was once told, paper is for the heart, the screen is for the head. The way people consume information has evolved – folks want information quick and easy; infographics, videos, pictures, you name it. Multimodality and omni-channel is the name of the game; people simply don’t have the time (or the desire) to consume information that requires a hefty time investment. Quick bursts that effectively summarize a topic get a message across far more effectively than a lengthy document.

3. Get to the info fast — like right now!

We want our information fast: a picture is worth a thousand words, a video could very well be worth a thousand sales. When I look at new client’s sites or marketing, 90 percent of what I see is endless noise. We fall into a habit of throwing so many words at the audience, very little of which make a genuine impact. Poorly marketed information nets minimal attention. Marketers must get to the point as soon as humanly possible through highly relevant and deliberate diction. Spread through the right channels, the right content is the difference maker and can create an astounding impact, even with just a few words.

4. Get advocates to spread your message.  

In the current world of shares, follows and likes, build content I want to send to my friends, post to my followers and connect with emotionally.

Say it quickly and say it well. Content has to be exciting and it has to stand on its own legs so it can essentially market itself. Remarkable content speaks for itself and creates peer-to-peer endorsements.

Make your message something meaningful so people feel the urge to spread it. From there, sit back and watch as the digital marketing ecosystem works itself.

5. Sales trailers, no more books

So many tell their story around a product feature, advantage or benefit. The core of your digital brand is in your story. Craft a message that resonates, engages and impacts your audience emotionally. Take that story and whiteboard a piece of creative with your team only about that message and belief. Let everything else follow from there. Your team will start sharing it and then others will follow. Eventually, you will sell tickets to your movie and consumers will get the whole story, but start with the trailer.

 

How to Use a Mobile App to Increase Repeat Business

Studies show that it is more cost effective to market to existing customers, than it is to acquire new ones.  With that being said, a Custom Mobile App is the PERFECT tool to help you do just that!  Mostly people these days spend a good number of their time on their mobile phones. From playing games, surfing, shopping, paying bills to contacting their friends and family members, everything is now so simple, time efficient and straightforward.

Today almost all businesses have websites, and the mobile app is also becoming a staple in most business’ marketing repertoire.  For a business to not only survive but thrive, it is imperative that all avenues to connect and engage with perspective clients be embraced.

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Some Recent Mobile Apps Success Stories

Denim Industries, Back to Cali, Organico Vitamins and Natural Touch Rehab, are all Small Business Success Stories. Each of the apps developed by these savvy businesses helps in different ways. Some of them aid in driving traffic to their bricks & mortar locations, some keep clients informed of appointments and policies while all give the business owner the ability to enhance their companies perception with their clients. Many of the apps also have full scale loyalty programs built in, as well as a plethora of marketing tools, add that to the not too subtle ability to have your logo on a device that is used by your customer constantly.

Benefits

            Companies need to build an app that boost up its repeat business using mobile coupons, loyalty programs, real-time deals and much more. A company can drive customer engagement when and where it counts with push notifications and location-based messaging. These apps help a lot in promoting brands plus the spread awareness among your customers about your business. You can provide social sharing tools and options so that not only the purchases will be made but customers will be able to share their experiences too, thus giving your content the ability to go viral.

These apps help company in sending news alerts, information about new products, coupons and deals to their customers. No longer does a business have to rely on marketing efforts that are not able to reach a customer effectively.  Today a business that has their customers download their apps, have the ability to reach them 24/7, and not only reach them, but know that they are receiving their messages.  Traditional paper advertisements or other media channels, are pretty expensive and are less likely to be noticed by most of the customers. Mobile apps help you boosting your repeat business by targeting people that want to receive your content.

Canadian Small business, improve customer relationships by developing smartphone applications

Great Article in the Toronto Star as to how important Mobile Apps are for Business Owners.

Apps – those things you install on your smartphone or tablet to perform specific tasks – have traditionally been seen as a luxury offering available only to large or tech-savvy organizations.

Apps – those things you install on your smartphone or tablet to perform specific tasks – have traditionally been seen as a luxury offering available only to large or tech-savvy organizations.

A small business can’t easily afford to invest $10K – $40K to develop a customer-friendly app. But new products available now let small businesses purchase their app services on a monthly basis, just like internet and phone. These cover areas such as payments, scheduling, and appointments, messaging and marketing with coupons, deals and social sharing.  This means that, for the first time, apps are now affordable for small businesses — and they may be one of your best secret weapons to staying competitive.  With more than one million applications available across the Google Play and the Apple App store, and users spending nearly half a day each month using the programs, the message is clear: users like apps.  With this in mind, here are five reasons why a small business should consider investing in its own mobile application:

Customer service – providing information at the fingertips of your customers is a significant value add. From the convenience of wherever/whenever they are, they can find information that is essential to their purchasing decision.
Retention through brand recognition – Staying top of mind is easy when an app puts your company’s logo in front of your customers.
News and information updates – Whatever you need to share, an app gives you the ability to ensure a customer’s smartphone has up-to-date information. From holiday closures to extended hours to trending news and reviews or something as simple as construction they might want to avoid while making their way to your business, an app can be a valuable information resource.
Company image – Having your own app projects a professional, tech-savvy image. It shows you’re invested in the latest customer trends and can make your business appear larger or more well established than it may in fact be.
Push out messages for promotions/launches – Apps are a new direct line of communication with customers. You can push out notifications for promotions and new product and service launches, literally putting the news in the palm of your audience’s hands. Plus, these notifications tend to stand out from the stream of emails most people receive about the other guy’s promos.

5 Ways to Maximize your Mobile Strategy

For the first time, mobile devices outnumber people. This benchmark underscores a crucial fact for entrepreneurs: as the number of mobile devices rises, so do their importance.

Apple Will Constantly Remind iPhone Owners to Buy an Apple Watch

Eighty-five percent of consumers believe their mobile devices are essential to daily life. Clearly, the mobile interface is crucial for consumers, and the savvy businesses that hope to connect with them increasingly choose to do so via smartphones and tablets. A mobile strategy can help companies of all sizes reach more customers and help maintain a strong market presence.

But creating a mobile strategy involves more than building an app. A great strategy ensures that your in-person, mobile and traditional online experiences communicate a cohesive message that motivates customers to interact with your business. Here are five ways to maximize your mobile efforts:

  1. Design great experiences.

Make sure you deliver a customer experience that enables users to interact with your brand in new and exciting ways. Most users have experienced the frustrations of trying to navigate a mobile website, with distorted layouts and impossible navigation.  This is why they prefer a native app experience.  So when you are planning your app with your developer, make sure you address ease of use, and functionality.

  1. Make your strategy scalable.

Mobile App downloads are projected to double during the next 3 year period, and the smartphone market is forecasted to grow by more than 10 percent every year for the next four or five years. Your mobile strategy must be flexible, so allow and plan for rapid growth.

  1. Look to Unify User Experience.

When possible look to align user experience across multiple channels, make the visual of your app align with that of your website, online shop, and your bricks and mortar location.  Having the ability to link to your facebook, twitter, website and ecommerce sites is a definite plus.

  1. Find a strong team.

A bare-bones app can cost upwards of $10,000 to develop, and developing a more in depth experience can run in into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Having a solid team of developers is critical to building successful apps.  Look at the experience of your prospective developers, and if at all possible contact some of their existing clientele for feedback on support, and overall satisfaction.

  1. Extend your OWN Brand.

There are 2 different models that enable business owners today to launch a mobile strategy.  The first is to join a community of merchants inside of the app of the developer. Your company will appear geographically alongside other participating merchants. While you may expose your brand to potential customers that may have never heard about you, the probability is that you will not.  Why because users of these types of Apps, do not look for other merchants when using the loyalty aspect of the app at their businesses of choice.  Additionally you will be required to promote this app to your customers, and if you do gain some from your inclusion you may also lose some for the same reason.  The second and most effective is to develop your OWN custom app, where you do not share your customers with your competition, and you extend your own brand, with your logo and the credibility that comes along with having your own custom app.

Denim Industries is a great example of a merchant that tested several of the multi merchant platform, and eventually ended up going with their own mobile app, developed by Mass Mobile Apps.

A mobile strategy that’s tailored to your goals and connected to your customers’ needs will help you connect with your target audience on a deeper level, additionally a strong mobile strategy will also accelerate your company’s growth in a market place where mobile technology is quickly becoming an expected avenue to maintain and nurture customer relationships.

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Costs of Custom App Development

Figuring the costs of custom mobile business app development

How much are custom mobile business apps going to cost you? Here are some estimates, analyses and offers we’ve found that should help set some reasonable expectations.

General app development costs

This post is primarily about apps for for mobilizing business processes, but if you are interested in the more general topic of app development costs here are some pointers:

Business app development costs

Surveys

Update: A November 2014 Kinvey report based on a survey of CIOs and Mobile Leaders found that mobile application development is “costly, slow and frustrating.” According to this survey:

56 percent of mobile leaders surveyed say it takes from 7 months to more than one year to build one app. 18 percent say they spend from $500,000 to over $1,000,000 per app, with an average of $270,000 per app.

costspng

Source: Kinvey Survey

survey of IT professionals conducted in 2013 by AnyPresence, a backend-as-a-service company, asked about the initial cost of developing a typical mobile application. Over half reported spending more than three months and over $50,000  developing a typical app. Very nearly a quarter reported spending over $100,000.

Analyses

App development company Propelics specializes in iPad apps and posted a very informative blog post in December 2011 with a breakdown of iPad app development costs. This is recommended reading on the difference between consumer and enterprise apps. In a nutshell, Propelics describes three levels of complexity in enterprise apps corresponding to three price ranges:

  • Simple Enterprise iPad App Development Cost: $50,000 (+/- 20%)
  • Medium Enterprise iPad App Development Cost: $100,000 (+/- 20%)
  • Complex Enterprise iPad App Development Cost: $150,000 (and up)

Features that bump an app into the $100,000 range include a branded and highly tuned user experience, and integration that leverages your existing enterprise capabilities. For real-time integration, mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) infrastructure, you enter the $150,000+ category.

In a late 2012 webinar Propelics reiterated these figures in the context of mobile budget planning for 2013.

An October 2012 post provided some very detailed estimates by the CTO of 5App and his conclusion:

It’s safe to assume that using traditional development techniques to create a cross-platform enterprise app won’t come in under £100K.

He lays out a grid splitting out costs for design, development and testing on one, two or three platforms for four app categories.  Here are some example estimates (converted from GBP to USD for comparison to other estimates here):

  • An app that extracts data from a database and displays it in a simple list can be expected to take 4-8 weeks to create at a cost of $26,000 on a single platform.
  • An app with more complex server-side integration and offline data caching will probably take 8-12 weeks and cost $71,000 to develop for two platforms.
  • A full-scale enterprise automation app with integration to business processes will take anything from 3-6 months and may cost over $150,000 to develop on three platforms.
  • Assorted Quotes
  • An October 2012 analysis of why enterprise apps fail begins with this rather revealing anecdote:
  • The head of digital for a major UK interactive agency shut the door and slid the iPad across the table with a pained smile. Her team had developed an app for a major financial services firm. $140,000 and six months later they were about to start again. The client was, unsurprisingly, unhappy.
  • Kevin Benedict:
  • Companies are under tremendous pressure to develop and deploy mobile apps for their business systems, yet the traditional approach to mobile app development typically costs $250K+ and takes 6+ months for a single app.
  • StarMobile:
  • Based upon complexity, the initial costs to develop a native enterprise application for one mobile device platform can range from $50,000 to $250,000. Those costs grow exponentially if you need that app to support multiple mobile device platforms.

How to Build a Successful Loyalty Program

Regardless of the size of your business, customer loyalty programs ensure more repeat business than any other form of advertising. However you need to make sure that your customers are  participating, and are able to advantages of your program.JoinNow

The easiest way to promote your loyalty program is to do it at the point of sale, face to face with your customer.  It is imperative that your employees are well trained and enthusiastic when promoting your program.  The customer is already committed to buying something from you, why would they not want to receive some type of a reward for giving you their business?  If your business has the ability at the time a transaction is being made, it would be an easy way to help your customer sign up, or download your program, alternatively if you are a high volume enterprise, then having professionally printed material explaining how the customer would be able to join your program at a later time would be important.  In both scenarios there should be clearly marked signs outlining how to join, and what the benefits of your program are.

Featuring your loyalty app, with the links of the respective app stores, in all your marketing material, is also an excellent way to quickly gain users.  Places that would be helpful are, your website, your company facebook page, your company twitter account, and other company social media accounts…

For any loyalty program to work, it essential that you are able to get your customers to adopt it.  Offering an instant reward upon signing up is a tool that is also very effective;  for example, upon signing up for your program, offer the customer an instant savings or a gift.  This will dramatically increase early adoption, and get your program off to a good start.

At Mass Mobile Apps, we have account experts that can help you structure a program, and ensure your success. Contact us to get started! [contact-form subject=’Contact from Blog’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]