Ever heard of the messy middle?

And I’m not talking cake 🍰

I know we’d like to think that our customers (or prospects) go on a linear journey to purchase from us after we’ve done a great job of marketing to them and making them aware we exist.

….But in reality, it just doesn’t work that way. 🤯

You’ve probably seen a model like this one.

👉 Awareness
👉 Interest
👉 Desire
👉 Action

(AIDA) Or, the gazillions of variations of the same funnel 😆

Google studied the journeys of millions of customers and wrote a great white paper called ‘The Messy Middle’ (link in the comments)

The reality is, even after your prospects become aware of you they’re now evaluating you on many different platforms such as social media, Google, review sites, your website, and a plethora of other sources.

So it stands to reason your responsibility as a business owner is to maintain a consistent approach to all the places people will research you in ‘The Messy Middle’.

Do this well and they pop through ‘The Messy Middle’ at the bottom of your funnel and be ready to engage and hopefully buy.

Anyway, I just I’d share this as it often gets talked about the sales funnel, but people miss the bit in the middle where it stops being linear into, well, a mess! 🤯

Check out the link in the comments to read the full article.

Hope it helps

💥 SELL FUTURES, NOT FEATURES

This is the best advice I can offer when it comes to writing copy for your website, brochures, social media, and ads.

Customers are interested in the outcome of what you do, not the features, or how it’s done.

In fact, I’d go a step further and say they have zero f*cks to give how you get the results they want, as long as you get them (legally, of course!).

So, focus on the outcome that your service provides (the future).

Tell them how great it will make them feel, or how their life will be improved by it.

BMW doesn’t tell you how the car works, they just show you what it looks like to own one.

When Apple launched the first iPod, they didn’t tell you it was an MP3 player with 5gb of storage – they told you that you could have 1000 songs in your pocket.

Stop telling people about the nuts and bolts, they seriously don’t care.

Instead, tell them about how they’ll feel after they’ve experienced your product or service.How will their life be impacted?

I thought I would share my thoughts on some lead generation tactics as we’ve had a few posts and comments on the subject recently.🐘 Let’s get the elephant out of the room, everyone wants leads and new business NOW!⏰ But the reality is, it takes time, and to be honest, most people don’t want to wait, we’re all used to getting the stuff we want to be delivered in an hour by Amazon!👉 Building a sustainable flow of leads takes time for a number of reasons.

  1. You need to build up awareness of your products or services. This takes time and consistency as people will rarely buy the first time they see your brand, especially if they’re not “in the market” for what you’re offering.
  1. You need to build up trust. This again takes time as trust is often defined by how trusted you are by others, so things like reviews, testimonials (especially video ones), and industry accreditations need to be gathered and presented to consumers.
  2. You need to develop authority. Authority is different to trust and is about building YOUR story as the founder/owner. Building authority can be done by instructional videos, giving value upfront, showing up on your social media regularly, essentially positioning you and your business as the authority for what you do.

🤷‍♂️ You can’t send paid or organic traffic to a website or landing page and expect it to convert, if you’ve not layered it, and the customer journey to get them there with all of the above.💡 So, that’s my first tip – focus on building awareness, trust, and authority BEFORE you start spending big bucks on paid marketing activities.It doesn’t take a huge effort to build up a few reviews on Facebook and Google, write up your back story and why people should trust you, and gather together your accreditations to put them in front of prospects.🚀 With that in mind, and in the absence of a marketing strategy, here are some tactics I know 100% work for local businesses.

  1. Google My Business – it’s free, it takes 30 minutes to set up and five minutes a day to maintain, but so many businesses neglect it or set it up once and forget about it, thereby negating ANY benefit from it.
  2. Facebook – it’s free and you can reach thousands of local residents quickly, especially by creating eyecatching content i.e. videos, and sharing them with local Facebook groups. But, it has to be part of an ongoing strategy, not a do once and forget about it approach.
  3. Facebook Paid ads – they 100% work if you do them right and have a strategic approach. Create a single ad and it will unlikely work, however, run multiple ads, test what works and retarget people that have engaged with your business and this will 100% work.
  4. Google Ads – Different from Facebook ads as this targets people that are actively looking for your product or service and will show your ads to local people that you can define using what’s called ‘negative keywords’ i.e. trigger words that will ensure your ads are NOT shown to certain searches.
  5. LinkedIn – Yes, LinkedIn! It’s not the scary place it once was years ago and is pretty much the Facebook for business. Want to build relations with local builders, or lettings agents and landlords – you’ll find them on there. I started a LinkedIn account for a plumber two weeks ago and he’s had two paid jobs from connections I made for him!
  6. Local SEO – This is a long burn strategy but your future self and business will thank you for starting to do it now! The work that is done today won’t start paying off for 3-6 months, but in 3-6 months you’ll have another lead channel bringing you regular website visits, and in turn, leads. Plus, a website with high authority in Google will rank new pages faster and higher than a website that hasn’t.
  7. Targeted mail drops – Want to find customers in a particular area because they’re populated by high net worth individuals? Then a targeted solus (basically, yours is the only leaflet dropped) mail drop will work well for you. Make it relevant to them and solve a problem in their life and it will bring leads. Mail drops fail because they’re usually ‘spray and pray’ in approach and don’t have anything the consumer wants. Who wants their grass mowed in Winter?!?! But right now, I’d say it’s the perfect time to hit people with that message.
  8. YouTube – Did you know it’s possible to rank a video on page one of Google for a chosen keyword/phrase within ten minutes? I don’t have time to explain in this post but using software like Videly you can search for high traffic keywords that when applied to a video on YouTube can get you ranking LOCALLY on page one within minutes. Also, did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in existence behind Google? Even more, a reason to have a presence on there.

🎉 So, there are lots of ideas on how you can proactively bring customers to your door. I’m not suggesting you do everything, but basically, you need to have two strategies running in tandem:

  1. The long game – Building up your awareness, trust, and authority – whilst working on a number of tactics such as local SEO, Google My Business – basically your local digital footprint
  2. The short game – Tactics to get the phones ringing – Paid ads, mail drops and social sharing/virality. They’re more expensive, and without the long game strategy, you’ll ALWAYS be paying to acquire traffic.

❤️ Hope that helps folks. It’s a loooooong post but I’m happy to answer questions, and if you want to book a quick 15-minute slot with me feel free to message me.

Before we dive in to the meat on this particular marketing bone, let’s define what is considered to be a ‘landing page’ as opposed to a normal page on your website.

For me the definition is simple.

It’s a web page that is out of the normal architecture of your website, not found through your normal site map, but only found through campaigns targeting specific customer demographics with key search terms. Therefore only visible to a well defined audience.

The idea of a landing page is that it speaks directly to your target audience and answers directly the pain that they are suffering with. Usually this will result in higher conversion rates as you won’t be sending any general traffic, just traffic where the user has searched for the subject matter of the landing page.

Hopefully, with that cleared that up, we can now move on to my 7 Landing Page Best Practices to Increase Your Conversions.

1. Understand WHO you’re targeting and WHY

First identify which of your personas you’re targeting and really understand their pain and jobs to be done. Once you know WHO you’re targeting and what their pain is, you’ll be better placed to create copy and an experience that talks directly to them.

2. Make sure you include social proof

Including social proof gives clear psychological signs that what you’re offering works. It will influence massively on whether people take action. Including some testimonials in written or video form will drastically increase your conversion rates. Embedding tweets and Instagram posts can also be a great way to demonstrate social proof.

3. Where possible don’t use stock photography

Authentic imagery will always trump stock photography. Therefore having a strategy to create an asset repository is key if landing pages play or will play a big part in your marketing strategy. They don’t have to be taken with an expensive camera, but images showing YOU in action will work better than stock images.

4. Make your form simple and clutter free

Your call to action form should be simple, straightforward and not too complicated. It’s easy to get carried away with these but the evidence is clear – less is more. It’s tempting to ask stuff like “Where did you hear about us” but honestly, this is best left further down the customer journey. Stick with the important stuff. And, if you need an anti-spam form validator like ‘captcha’ make it an easy to use one!

5. Use a 1:1 link ratio

This is important. The idea of a landing page is that users will be ‘funnelled’ through your page to the call to action. Therefore links to pages like ‘about us’, ‘meet the team’ etc only serve to take focus away from the goal – getting the conversion through your call to action on the page. So, keep your link ratio to 1:1 i.e. no other links on your page.

6. Create landing pages for every persona or campaign

The stats are really clear on this. The companies with the highest number of landing pages invariably get the highest conversion rates. So, use multiple landing pages in your business to target different personas and different products in your campaign. Customers never have the same need, so using landing pages that speak directly to each individual persona will work far better than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

7. Use a high contract for your CALL TO ACTION button

if your brand colours are blue, use an orange or red button. Always go for high contrast so, at a glance of your page it’s easy to spot your call to action from all the other on page copy and imagery.

BONUS TIP: Test, test and test some more

Once your landing page is live and getting traffic, use tools like Hotjar to monitor performance of your page. Make adjustments, take stuff away and add stuff in. With most landing page software you can normally split test different variations and find the perfect mix of on page copy and imagery.

There you have it, my top 7 best practice tips for squeezing the very most from your landing pages. If you need help or more advice feel free to ask by emailing steve@stevemark.co.uk or connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a DM.