Published on February 24th, 2011 | by Formstack Team1
Website Optimization & Online Forms for Driving Leads, Part 2
In Part One of the blog post, I talked about why SEO and various forms of social media are important to generating leads on your landing page. I’ll cover blogging, email integration, and analytics in this part of the post.
Do I really need to Blog?
I get this question with nearly every client and it is a very rare occurrence when I find a client that could not benefit from blogging. I think blogging is crucial to developing a solid SEO strategy. I know it can seem daunting to have to come up with blog ideas, but if you think about your product lifecycle, news and trends, and the overall chatter on social networks, you can easily come up with a blog post or two per week.
Importance of Blogging
Blogs have inherent benefits over website content. An optimized blog extends your website’s SEO efforts, allows you to focus on secondary/niche terms that may not have a prominent place on your website, and allow you speed of content updates. There are so many quality blog platforms available complete with SEO plugins and optimization that you have no excuse to not blog.
I can get into advising on which platforms to use, how to install, and the plugins to utilize, but I would bore you to tears. Talk to your IT team or developer and have them take care of the nuts and bolts, you just focus on the optimization factors that will drive leads.
As we covered in part one:
- You have created a landing page with an online form from Formstack for collecting data
- You have done some keyword research to understand the terms actual customers are using to find your company
- You understand the key places to use the keywords
Now it’s time to use those keywords on your blog. The great feature of a blog is that it gives you multiple ways to use keywords. The content is the most visible method, clearly, but extend that to categories, tags, page titles, archives and you have a virtual smorgasbord of opportunities. Here are some simple things upon which to focus:
Please, please, please do not name your categories as you are writing the blog posts. Layout your categories before you blog. That way you know on what you need to focus. How do you define your categories? Simple…take the keyword research you have done for your site, find the top terms on which you want to post (as a rule of thumb a like to post about the topics which lead to highest conversions or focus on products with the highest margins) and use those as your categories.
As an example, we’d create a category for “Bluetooth Headsets” based on our research. We now know have a topic on which to post.
- Post Title
You will find countless blogs out there recommending ways to create the best blog title. They’ll tell you to use Top 5 or 10 lists, ask poignant questions, or be uber-controversial to get people to read. Truth is, you need to find the best voice for your blog and test a few methods for creating titles. To start, however, just focus on including your keyword in your post title. Simple enough.
A Bluetooth post title may be “Bluetooth Headsets that Pair Seamlessly with Microsoft Vista” or “Find a Bluetooth Headset Pattern that Matches Your Boyfriend’s Neck Tattoo”. Doesn’t really matter, just include the keyword or term.
- Use Smart Linking
Here is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. The entire goal of this blog post is to drive traffic to your lead generating landing page, right? It is, in case you forgot. So what is the focus of your landing page? In this case, I’ll say it is to collect emails for customers interested in Bluetooth headsets. In your post you must link to your landing page. But don’t provide a mundane, generic link that says “for more info, click here”. What does that convey? Nothing.
Instead, use your keywords (have you caught onto the theme here?). Have your link say “Sign Up for Bluetooth Headset Discounts” or, to drive home a branded focus, “see the latest Sony Bluetooth headset designs to match your boyfriend’s neck tattoo”. Test different linking styles, but be sure to include those keywords.
Yet another way to use keywords is via blog tags. You can assign specific tags to each post which can be expanded into tag clouds, tag pages, or combined with your website content. The possibilities are endless and most blog platforms have tagging options. A few tag examples would be “Bluetooth headsets”, “Bluetooth”, or “Sony Bluetooth”. The tags will reflect the keyword research you have done.
Integrate Your Email
It is time to extend your blog and website’s reach by integrating your email program. Formstack integrates very easily with popular email platform, MailChimp. According to Formstack:
With Formstack’s MailChimp integration you can:
- Automatically add subscribers to your email list
- Segment your subscriber list into Groups
- Update existing subscriber details
- Send a double opt in message
- Populate custom fields and interest areas
For our example, when a visitor completes the form on your landing page, that person’s info and email can be sent directly to a specific email list is MailChimp to indicate that this person signed up via your Bluetooth landing page
You’ve collected email from the landing page, now what?
The possibilities are endless. First and foremost, you need to get back to the person relatively quickly before your email is lost in sea of other offers in the person’s inbox. Send them a triggered email. A triggered email simply means you are automatically sending someone an email based on a set of rules. The welcome message could use a rule that states “when a new email comes in from my landing page, send a specific welcome message”. You do not have to manually send out every email with triggered messages. All the work is done by MailChimp or whatever email vendor you use.
Your welcome message can be simple, thanking the customer for signing up, highlighting a few of your Bluetooth top sellers, and providing a link to your Bluetooth headsets. If you want to strike while the iron is hot, think about offering a promotion or discount to entice a purchase.
Don’t just stop there, follow up with additional emails.
Here is where targeting your follow-up emails gets interesting. You can set up all sorts of triggered email campaigns; it just depends on your company goals and needs. A simple example of a follow up email campaign starts with list segmentation.
We’ve sent the initial welcome email and we want to follow up with customers. But how do we know what message to send? Segment your list based on customer action by asking a few questions:
- Which customers clicked on a link in my welcome email?
- Which customers did not click on a link in my welcome email?
By answering those two questions, you now have two list segments on which to focus. I shall call these lists clickers and non-clickers.
For the clickers, set up a follow up email message that may say something along the lines of,
“Still interested in our Bluetooth headsets? Shop top brands like Sony before quantities or promotions run out.”
Capitalize on the fact that you know they clicked a link in your welcome email and create a specific message to get them to go to your site.
For the non-clickers, your message can simply be a variation of the initial welcome message with a different subject line or a more obvious call to action (such as a Buy Now image rather than just a link) or ask them to contact your company with questions. Either way, your goal is to try and get them to your site with a subtly different ploy.
List segmentation and follow up emails are effective and low-cost ways to capitalize on the fact that you have a customer interested in your product. Your SEO, social efforts, and landing page have done their job, use email to complete the sale.
Do You Measure Up?
Following these examples can get you started on your way to improving leads or conversion via your landing page. Outside of email addresses and actual conversions, you may be interested to see which methods led to the best ROI. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Did your blog produce more revenue?
- Did your follow-up emails see a positive ROI?
- Did any of the links from your social media sites produce any revenue?
These are common questions you’ll encounter as you look to uncover what works and why. I good way to measure all of these efforts is with Google Analytics (or Omniture, or Webtrends, or countless other analytics tools) and the Formstack Analytics.
Google Analytics reports can give you information on how people found your landing page, what sites led them to your landing page, and, if your ecommerce tracking is enabled, how much revenue was generated. Combine Google Analytics with Formstack Analytics which offers information on which form fields were utilized, which were not, etc. to help you hone in on the most effective form design.
To assure that I see the stats I want, I normally tag all of my links. How do you tag your links? Use a free tool such as Google Link Builder which tells you the exact location from where a link originated. Let’s take a real world example using the welcome email as an example. I want to know exactly how many people clicked on my welcome email link and how much revenue it produced. How would I track that…by tagging the links in my email via Google.
- As an example, I’ll say I used a link to my Bluetooth page in my email. Something like http://www.companyxyz.com/Bluetooth
- I copy that link and head on over to Google Link Builder
- Paste my link into the tool
- Enter a campaign source. (I’ll use MailChimp (since that is my email source))
- Enter a medium. (I’ll use email (since this is an email and not a banner or Twitter post))
- Enter a campaign name. (I’ll use WelcomeEmail (since this is a link from my initial welcome email))
- Hit submit and the Link Builder tool spits out http://www.companyxyz.com/Bluetooth?utm_source=MailChim&utm_medium=email &utm_campaign= WelcomeEmail
The link which is created goes to the same Bluetooth page with which you started, but now it has some tags that you can research via Google Analytics to uncover information such as visits, revenue, time on page, etc.
Now tag to your heart’s content. Getting into the practice of tagging your social, blog, email, and third-party banner links is great way to breakdown ROI by effort. In turn, knowing from where you get the most revenue can help you consolidate your efforts and tweak your SEO research to test new terms.
These two blog posts contain a high-level view of simple efforts you can start to help your SEO and landing page conversions. By no means is it comprehensive, but a means to get you headed in the right direction. Dan Tushinski Productions adapts plans from small businesses to large corporations…but we always start with some of the basics spelled out in these posts.
Dan Tushinski Productions (http://www.tushinski..com) serves as the nuts/bolts technology specialist translating your business and technology concepts into successful projects and solutions. By specializing in the multiple facets of your online business such as SEO, email marketing, analytics, SEM, social media, blogging, and web development, we provide comprehensive experience to integrate your online marketing efforts.