Does your homepage explain your value?

Does Your HomepageExplain Your Value-

The homepage can often be the first place a new visitor lands when they find your site. Many of us get the feeling of wanting to get everything on the page. You want to explain what you do, showcase your products or services, talk about who you are, get people to sign up or take action, etc.

The issue is that if you put too much on your home page, people will end up taking no action at all because there are too many actions. Landing pages do great because they focus the visitor’s attention on the main action, usually signing up for your list or offer.

So how do you get your value proposition across to a visitor on your homepage?

No Carousels

That’s it. Period. They’re distracting.

Strong Value Proposition Above The Fold

You want your statement of value to appear as soon as they see the homepage, no scrolling needed. You may need one big sentence (H1) and a sentence underneath (H2 or H3).

This is the most important piece of the homepage. Your statement needs to be clear and written for the visitor. The visitor doesn’t care about you. I repeat, the visitor doesn’t care about you. They came to your site to find a solution for themselves. They don’t want to read about how you’ve been in business since 1957.

It will take time to get this part right. You may need to do some A/B tests of different value props for a few weeks (until you reach statistical significance).

How to Find Your Value Proposition

Start doing research! I’m not saying to steal a value prop from another website. But start going through sites (even ones not in your industry) and see how they explain what they do.

After a while, you’re going to notice that some sites do this well and many do it wrong. You’ll find sites where after reading the value prop, you still don’t understand how the company solves your problem.

Create a swipe file. This is a folder on your computer where you store screenshots of different pieces of copy or websites that you like in order to reference later.

Testing Your Headline

You’ll need software like VWO, Optimizely, or something similar to run A/B tests. These are just tests where you have two different options: Your homepage with headline A and another with headline B. Randomly different visitors will be shown each one and you can see which headline option produced the most conversions (or your preferred metric).

Get a few strangers to run through your site and take note of whether they understand the business from the value proposition on the homepage. You can also do this on UserTesting.com and have strangers create videos of themselves walking through your site.

How to Write Your Value Proposition

You don’t need to be a copywriter to write an effective headline. You just need to understand what makes a headline effective in the first place.

Here are two useful articles to help get you started:

Value Propositions and USPs: “My Product Is the One That…” from CopyHackers

Useful Value Proposition Examples (and How to Create a Good One) from ConversionXL

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Step by Step Guide to Creating Social Media Content

STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO CREATING SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT - MARKIT GROUP

Good content is nothing without the proper promotion. Companies (us included) love social media because of the reach we can get. We love being able to share something and have it reach our own audience as well as others who may not have heard of us before.

Social media marketing is about finding the right content and promoting it. Nobody wants to follow a business’s Twitter account if all they do is post about their services. It’s not enough to post a few times a week, you have to step up your game if you really want to make a difference with your social media efforts.

How do you go about finding the right content? How do you write the posts and post them? What are the best tools?

Let’s go over all of that now!

How to Find the Right Content

Learn About Your Audience

First off, you need to know your audience. Don’t just assume you know who they are. There are a few exercises you can do to find out more about your customers.

  1. Survey them: You can do this via email (given that you have an email list).
  2. Interview them: This takes more time and goes in-depth. You’ll want a handful of customers that are willing to spend 30 minutes or so talking to you.

“Ok, but what do I ask them?” Great question! You don’t want to ask just anything and you also don’t want to have leading questions. Below are a few resources with questions you can use on a survey or in an interview.

20 Not So Obvious Questions to Ask Customers on Your Survey

Survey Questions That Work: How to Unlock Your Customers’ Deepest Desires

Not that you have some qualitative info about your customers you can use this to craft a buyer persona.

Buffer has a great guide to help you build your first persona. In the article author Kevan Lee mentions, “Building personas for your core audience can help improve the way you solve social media challenges for your customers.”

This may seem silly, but it really can help you start creating consistent, focused posts that resonate with your target audience. It’s a great exercise that you should try at least once.

Finding the Content

Now that you know more about your customers and have a buyer persona, you can start doing some research. You’ll want to research what competitors are doing, figure out what your customers engage with, and which platforms they’re on. You don’t want to invest tons of time on Instagram if your customers are not on there.

First off, do some competitive research. Just grab a sheet of paper or a Google Sheet and list out your competitors.

screenshot-docs.google.com-2017-04-19-07-15-26

Simple Google Sheet with bulleted content from competitors

It doesn’t have to be fancy, you just want to put ideas to paper. Also check out what big brands are doing on different channels as well.

Here are some of the top content ideas you can try out:

  • Videos
  • Links to articles
  • Share testimonials
  • Share customer photos
  • Take photos at your business
  • Share info about staff (Birthdays, big events, promotions, etc)
  • Your services/products
  • Your blog content
  • Recipes

This is just a sampling of ideas. If you want more, here are 120 ideas from Keyhole.co.

For our fictional dog grooming and boarding company, Dog Gone Mad, we created a Google Sheet to start out our content creation process.

screenshot-docs.google.com-2017-04-19-07-21-16.png

Again nothing fancy, you just want something to help you get all your content for the month organized. Take your topic ideas and spread them out throughout the month. This is the best way I’ve found to fill up your month of content and not have multiple posts in a row about the same thing.

Now, you start filling in the content and urls! In the URLs section you can also put the name of images you plan to post too. Add relevant hashtags (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) as well. This may require some additional research to see which hashtags are popular among your audience.

You will want to have different sheets for different platforms. Posts for Facebook won’t necessarily be good for Instagram, which is image based. You’ll need to create a new tab on your sheet to make posts for the other platforms you plan to be on.

Give yourself around 1-2 hours to create content for each platform. Since this is your first time, don’t worry if it feels like it’s taking a while, you’ll get the hang of it after doing it for a few months. It’s all about figuring out what to post, having the content, finding the best websites with great content, and creating good post copy.

Here are some useful sites for finding content:

  • Instagram (Repost customer photos and credit the photographer)
  • Pinterest
  • TripAdvisor & Yelp (Screenshot and share the reviews)
  • Twitter
  • Feedly (Create a feed of popular sites in your space)

Posting the Content

Now it’s time to bring all your social media content out into the open. You’ll want to invest in a social media tool if you really want to get serious. We use and recommend Hootsuite. It allows you to manage all your profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Instagram) and queue up posts for each one. It will also show you different feeds for your profiles so you don’t have to log into each one separately.

screenshot-hootsuite.com-2017-04-19-07-29-45.png

At a glance we can see our Facebook timeline, Twitter mentions, keywords, and new followers, and if we scrolled down more we’d see our LinkedIn and Instagram. Up top on the “compose message” bar is where you copy and paste your posts. There are options to add links, images, location, and schedule the post.

Give yourself around 30 minutes to 1 hour to queue up the posts for each platform.

Analyze the Results

Now that you’ve got your content all set up, it’s time to sit back, engage with your audience, and analyze what posts are getting the most feedback. It will take time to get it right, but don’t get discouraged. Social media is a long term strategy, and it’s more about engaging with your audience than it is about selling.

Any questions? Comment below or reach out to us at MARKIT-Group.com

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Marketing podcasts you actually want to listen to

Top marketing podcasts - MARKIT Group.png

Marketing podcasts are a dime a dozen. Every agency owner has one, everyone who has read three SEO articles has one. It’s hard to sift through which ones are worth listening to.

Well, lucky for you, I’ve listened to a ton of them! I’ll break them down and let you know which ones you should download and good episodes to start out on.

Ecommerce Influence

This isn’t necessarily a marketing-only podcast, but it’s perfect if you’re in the eCommerce space. The host talks to a lot of great guests about everything from Facebook ads to email marketing (which his company does) to the mindset you need to have to be an entrepreneur.

Listen to: The Silent Power of Email Marketing Pt. 1

ConversionCast

This podcast is from Leadpages and is hosted by Tim Paige. Episodes go into the nitty gritty of tactics that marketers and business owners used to get specific results. They recently pivoted the podcast to talk about what Leadpages does for marketing but the episodes are still great!

Listen to: What Kind of Facebook Advertising Really Works for Us

Traction

This podcast is more focused on startups but always has great guests and lessons.

Listen to: #30 Working IN vs ON Your Startup

Call to Action

Of course, if Leadpages has a podcast you better bet that Unbounce has one too. This is a marketing focused podcast that is released every Wednesday.

Listen to: Marketing Machines Part 1

Copyblogger FM

Copyblogger FM is a weekly, short-form broadcast hosted by Sonia Simone. Each week, she and a cast of rotating experts analyze the week in content marketing, copywriting, email marketing, conversion optimization, mindset, and much more.

Listen to: 13 Ways of Looking at a Headline

The Email Marketing Podcast

If you’re interested in email marketing and automation, you’ll want to listen to this podcast.

Listen to: Episode #99 – Rob Williams on Nailing Down Perfect Cold Emails That Land The Best Clients Out There

Marketing School

If you have just 10 minutes a day to listen to a podcast, make the most of it by listening to Marketing School with Eric Siu and Neil Patel. They talk about a marketing tip each day and you’re sure to find something to help your business.

Listen to: #230 7 Ways You Can Add Link Building to Your Daily Routine

Social Media Marketing Podcast

This is the go-to episode if you’re interested in social media marketing. Learn from Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner and his guests.

Listen to: Facebook Messenger Marketing: What Marketers Need to Know

Agency Advantage

If you run an agency, you’ll want to listen to this podcast from Hubstaff. They interview agency owners and talk about every aspect of agencies.

Listen to: 63: Johnathan Dane on building a $3.6mm/yr agency in two years

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MARKIT Group launches new site for Green Apron Cafe

Green Apron Cafe, a delicious meal ordering service specializing in family-style meals, was in search of a new website that would allow customers to submit orders online.

MARKIT Group, in partnership with Meal Track (a website ordering technology), built Green Apron Cafe a new, fully-functional website that allows customers to submit orders for meals for pick up or delivery. Visitors can also inquire about Blue Zones events, view the gallery, and more.

Green Apron Website.png

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New Site Launched for Paradise Coast Marine Services

MARKIT Group has recently built and launched a brand new website for new Southwest Florida company Paradise Coast Marine Services.

The site includes a custom logo and branding as well as a gallery, tours and services pages and more. Built on WordPress, the site is easy to update for the client.

paradise coast.png

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The importance of landing pages

Landing page blog-Square.png

Landing pages, schmanding pages. You’ve probably heard the term landing pages so often that you don’t care what it is anymore. But I want to get you going in the right direction when it comes to marketing online. If you want to do marketing the right way on the internet, you’re going to need landing pages.

What’s a Landing Page?

A landing page is like a website, but super focused on one thing. Let’s say you click a Facebook Ad for a watermelon flavored chapstick. The click takes you to chapstick.com’s homepage, and now you have to search and find the watermelon flavor you want. That’s not a great experience, right?

Instead, you want someone to click that same ad and go to a landing page that is just about the watermelon chapstick and nothing else! The sole focus is that flavor.

Some landing pages will be focused on getting sign ups for a product launch, getting people to purchase, getting people to sign up for an ebook, etc.

Landing pages have information about the one thing you’re looking to put in front of visitors. It focuses their attention.

Why not send them to a page on your website?

Sure, you can do that. But we all know how easily distracted people get. If you send them to your website, they may end up clicking the navigation bar or the sidebar to go somewhere else.

A landing page is sparse. It usually has information, a graphic, and a form to fill out or a buy button. You remove much of the distracting features of a website like the navigation bar, cluttered sidebar, and footer. You can have some links on the landing page, but you want to stay focused on your goal.

Can you give an example?

Yes! Let’s say you’re doing a giveaway to grow your email list. You’re running Facebook Ads to do a giveaway of 1 month of your service for free. Your landing page should include information about the giveaway and your company and a form for people to sign up.

Can we see some landing pages?

Absolutely! This article from Hubspot has some great examples of well designed landing pages.

How do I get started?

If you have a web designer on staff, you’re in luck because they’ll be able to create landing pages for you. Otherwise you may need software like Leadpages or Unbounce to build and launch your landing pages. These sites are easy to use, drag and drop, so you can get a simple page up in less than 30 minutes.

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How to optimize a Google My Business page

If you’re a local business, you MUST be on Google My Business. This helps you show up on the sidebar when someone searches your business on Google. And you will also show up on Google Maps (probably the most important part in my opinion).

Think about the last time you took a trip and wanted to find a restaurant. Most likely, you went on Google Maps and typed in “restaurant” or “pizza” or “burgers”. Then you tried to find a place nearby. You don’t really want to Google “Burgers Nashville” because you might find a place that’s 10 miles away, and you want to walk. Google Maps will bring up the burger places nearby.

But if you’re a burger restaurant that isn’t on Google My Business or Google Maps, you won’t show up. And you’re probably losing business because of this.

How to Get a Google My Business Page

First off, you need a Gmail account. Then, you have to go to Google.com/business.

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Then it will bring you to a map where you can search to see if your business is already listed. If it isn’t, Google will send you a verification code either by mail or some other method. Once you get the code and enter it, your business is verified!

If your business happens to be listed but is claimed by someone else, now you have to figure out who has the listing and try to get in contact with them.

Information to Enter

Now that your business is verified, you can start adding all the details.

This includes:

  • Business Name
  • Categories
  • Address
  • Hours
  • Special Hours
  • Phone
  • URL
  • Amenities (Often Google will add these automatically)
  • Photos

How Important Are Reviews?

Google Business reviews are often overlooked when it comes to local businesses. Instead they focus on sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp.

You should be funneling customers to fill out a review here. Especially because people will see the reviews if they type your business name into Google and if they find you on Maps.

Maintaining & Updating

A big mistake people make with Google Business is that they set it up and forget about it. Anytime you change something within your business such as hours, holidays, payment methods, etc, you need to be updating your listing.

I have run into the issue of wrong hours on Google Maps so often that I don’t trust the listed hours for a business anymore. But many people do, and they will be upset if you say you’re open until 10pm but now you close at 9pm.

Every month you should be adding new photos, replying to reviews, and making sure all of your business’s info is correct.

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