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8 of the Most Important HTML Tags for SEO

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Are you utilizing HTML tags in your SEO process?

HTML tags are code elements with the back-end of all web pages, but there are also specific HTML code types which provide search engines with key info for SERP display. Essentially, these elements highlight parts of your content that are relevant for search, and they describe those elements for search crawlers.

That said, you don’t have to use all of these extra code tools. Search engines are getting smarter, and there’s much less use for HTML tags these days than there was in times past. But a few tags are still holding on – and some have even gained in SEO value.

In this post, we’ll go over some of the key SEO HTML tags that still make sense in 2020.

1. Title tag

Title tags are used to set up those clickable headlines that you see in the SERP:

Generally speaking, it’s up to Google to create a SERP headline for your page, and it could use any of the section headings from within the page – or it may even create a new headline altogether.

But the first place Google is going to check for headline ideas is the title tag, and where a title tag is present, Google will very likely make it the main headline in the relevant listing. As such, optimizing the title tag gives you some control over the way your page is represented in the SERP.

Best practices

On the one hand, your title should contain the keywords that will help it appear in search results. On the other, your title should be attractive enough for users to actually click through, so a balance is required between search optimization and user experience:

  • Watch the length – Google will only display the first 50-60 characters of your title, and cut the rest. It’s not a problem to have a title that’s longer than 60 characters, so long as you fit the important information before the cut-off point.​
  • Include a reasonable number of keywords – Keyword stuffing is likely to get penalized, but one or two keywords will be fine. Just make sure that your title forms a coherent sentence.​
  • Write good copy – Don’t be salesy, and don’t be generic. Create descriptive titles that highlight the value of your content, and set up proper expectations, so that users aren’t let down when they visit the page.
  • Add your brand name – If you have a recognizable brand that’s likely to increase your click-through, then feel free to add it to the title as well.

HTML code

Below is a bit of code retrieved from a BBC article on coronavirus statistics. You can see a properly set up title tag sitting right on top of the meta description tag – which is what we’re going to discuss next:

2. Meta description tag

Meta description tags are used to set up descriptions within search result snippets:

Google doesn’t always use meta description tags to create these snippets, but if the meta tag is there, then there’s a good chance that your meta description will make it onto the SERP.

Keep in mind, however, that sometimes Google will ignore the meta description tag, and instead quote a bit of copy from the page. This normally happens when the quote is a better match for a particular query than the meta description would have been.

Basically, Google will choose the best option for increasing your chances of click-through.

Best practices

The rules for meta descriptions are not overly strict – after all, if you fail to write a good one, even if you fail to write one altogether, then Google will write one for you.

  • Watch the length – Same as with headlines, Google will keep the first 150-160 characters of your meta description, and cut the rest. Ensure that the important aspects are included early on to maximize searcher interest.​
  • Write good copy – While the meta description is not used for ranking, it’s still important to optimize it for search intent. The more relevant your description is, based on the respective query, the more likely a user will visit your page.
  • Consider skipping meta description – It can be difficult to create good copy for particularly long-tailed keywords, or for pages that target a variety of keywords. In those cases, consider leaving the meta description out – Google will scrape your page and populate your snippet with a few relevant quotes either way.

HTML code

Below is a bit of code retrieved from the same BBC article on coronavirus statistics, and you can see that following the title tag is a meta description tag, which provides a brief summary of what the article is about:

3. Heading (H1-H6) tags

Heading tags are used to structure your pages for both the reader and search engines:

It’s no secret that barely anyone reads through an article anymore – what we generally do instead is we scan the article until we find the section we like, we read that one section, and then we bounce. And if the article isn’t split into sections, then many will bounce right away, because it’s just too much. So, from a user perspective, headings are handy reading aids.

From the perspective of the search engine, however, heading tags form the core of the content, and help search crawler bots understand what the page is about. 

Best practices

The rules for headings are derived from the general copywriting practices – break your copy into bite-sized pieces and maintain consistent formatting:

  • Don’t use more than one H1 – H1 heading stands apart from other headings because it’s treated by search engines as the title of the page. Not to be confused with the title tag – the title tag is displayed in search results, while the H1 tag is displayed on your website.​
  • Maintain shallow structure – There’s rarely a need to go below H3. Use H1 for the title, H2 for section headings, and H3 for subsections. Anything more tends to get confusing.​
  • Form query-like headings – Treat each heading as an additional opportunity to rank in search. To this end, each heading should sound either like a query or an answer to a query – keywords included.
  • Be consistent with all headings – All of your headings should be written in such a way that if you were to remove all the text and keep only the headings, they would read like a list.

HTML code

Below is a snippet of code retrieved from the same BBC article on coronavirus statistics, and you can see that there’s a properly set up H2 heading, followed by two paragraphs:

4. Image alt text

While the main goal of alt text is web accessibility, the SEO goal of the alt attribute is image indexing.

The key goal of image alt text is to help users understand the image when it cannot be viewed, say, by a visitor who is vision impaired. In this instance, along with times when, say, there’s a problem and the image won’t load, the alt text can be used to describe what’s in the image, instead of viewing it.

From an SEO perspective, alt text is a big part of how images are indexed in Google search. So if there is a visual component to what you do – be it the images of your products, your work, your stock images, your art – then you should definitely consider using image alt texts.

Best practices

A prerequisite to adding alt text tags is finding all the images without it.

You can use a tool like WebSite Auditor to crawl your website and compile a list of images with missing alt text. 

Once you’ve created your list, apply these guidelines:

  • Be concise, but descriptive – Good alt text is about a line or two of text that would help a visually impaired person understand what’s pictured.​
  • Don’t be too concise – One word, or even a few words, are probably not going to cut it – there would be no way to differentiate the image from other images. Think of all possible properties displayed: object type, color, material, shape, finish, lighting, etc.​
  • Don’t do keyword stuffing – There’s no place left where keyword stuffing still works, and alt text is no exception.

HTML code

Here’s an example of an alt text snippet from an image of disease cells:

5. Schema markup

Schema markup is used to enhance regular SERP snippets with rich snippet features:

Schema.org hosts a collection of tags developed jointly by Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex, and the tags are used by webmasters to provide search engines with additional information about different types of pages. In turn, search engines use this information to enhance their SERP snippets with various rich features.

There is no certainty as to whether using Schema markup improves one’s chances of ranking – there’s no question, however, that the resulting snippets look much more attractive than regular snippets, and thus improve one’s standing in search.

Best practices

The only best practice is to visit schema.org and see whether they’ve got any tags that can be applied to your types of pages. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of tags, so there’s likely going to be an option that applies, and may help improve your website listings.

HTML code

Here’s a sample snippet of code specifying nutrition facts for a recipe. You can visit schema.org for a full list of items available for markup:

6. HTML5 semantic tags

HTML5 elements are used for better descriptions of various page components:

Before the introduction of HTML5 elements, we mostly used div tags to split HTML code into separate components, and then we used classes and ids to further specify those components. Each webmaster specified the components in their own custom way, and as such, it ended up being a bit of a mess, and a challenge for search engines to understand what was what on each page.

With the introduction of semantic HTML5 elements, we’ve got a set of intuitive tags, each describing a separate page component. So, instead of tagging our content with a bunch of confusing divs, we now have a way of describing the components in an easy-to-understand, standardized way.

As you can imagine, search engines are very enthusiastic about semantic HTML5.

HTML code

Here are some of the handiest semantic HTML5 elements, use them to improve your communication with search engines:

  • article – isolates a post from the rest of the code, makes it portable
  • section – isolates a group of posts within a blog or a group of headings within a post
  • aside – isolates supplementary content that is not part of the main content
  • header – isolates the top part of the document, article, section, may contain navigation
  • footer – isolates the bottom of the document, article, section, contains meta information
  • nav – isolates navigation menus, groups of navigational elements

7. Meta robots tag

Robots meta tag is all about the rules of engagement between the websites and the search engines.

This is where website owners get to outline a set of rules for crawling and indexing their pages. Some of these rules are obligatory, while others are more like suggestions – not all crawlers will respect robots meta tags, but mainstream search engines often will. And if there is no meta robots tag, then the crawlers will do as they please.

Best practices

Meta robots tag should be placed in the head section of the page code, and it should specify which crawlers it addresses and which instructions should be applied:

  • Address robots by name – Use robots if your instructions are for all crawlers, but use specific names to address individual crawlers. Google’s standard web crawler, for example, is called Googlebot. Addressing individual robots is usually done to ban malicious crawlers from the page while allowing well-intentioned crawlers to carry on.​
  • Match instructions to your goals – You’d normally want to use robots meta tags to keep search engines from indexing documents, internal search results, duplicate pages, staging areas, and whatever else you don’t want to show up in search.

HTML code

Below are some of the parameters most commonly used with robots meta tags. You can use any number of them in a single meta robots tag, separated by a comma:

  • noindex — page should not be indexed
  • nofollow — links on the page should not be followed
  • follow — links on the page should be followed, even if the page is not to be indexed
  • noimageindex — images on the page should not be indexed
  • noarchive — search results should not show a cached version of the page
  • unavailable_after — page should not be indexed beyond a certain date.

8. Canonical tag

Canonical tag spares you from the risk of duplicate content:

The gist of it is that any given page, through no fault of your own, can have several addresses. Sometimes they result from various artifacts – like http/https and various tracking tags – and other times they result from various sorting and customization options available in product catalogs.

It’s not a big problem, to be honest, except that all those addresses might be taxing on the crawl budget, and on your page authority, and it can also mess with your performance tracking. The alternative is to use a canonical tag to tell a search engine which of those page addresses is the main one.

Best practices

To avoid potential SEO complications, apply the canonical tag to the following pages:

  • Pages available via different URLs
  • Pages with very similar content
  • Dynamic pages that create their own URL parameters

Final thoughts

These are my top HTML tags to still worry about in 2020, though I believe some of them are firmly on their way out. As noted, with search engines getting ever smarter, there’s less and less need for HTML tag optimization, because most things can now be deduced algorithmically. Also, most modern CMS systems automatically add these elements, at least in some capacity.

Still, I wouldn’t leave it entirely up to Google to interpret my content – it’s best to meet it halfway where you can.

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Everything You Need To Know

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Everything You Need To Know

Now more than ever, marketing and sales leaders are taking a critical look at where to allocate their resources and how to staff their teams.

Attribution modeling is one of the best tools for providing clear guidance on what’s working, and what isn’t.

What Is Marketing Attribution?

Marketing attribution is the approach to understanding how various marketing and sales touchpoints influence the prospects’ move from visitor, to lead, to customer.

By implementing attribution in your organization, you’ll have a better idea of:

  • Which channels are most influential during different phases of the sales cycle.
  • Which content formats are more or less impactful in your marketing or sales enablement efforts.
  • Which campaigns drove the most revenue and return on investment (ROI).
  • The most common sequence of online or offline events that prospects interact with before becoming a customer.

Why Is Attribution Important In Marketing?

Analyzing attribution data provides you with an understanding of which marketing, sales, and customer success efforts are contributing most effectively and efficiently toward revenue generation.

Attribution modeling helps you identify opportunities for growth and improvement, while also informing budget allocation decisions.

With accurate attribution models, marketers are able to make more informed decisions about their campaigns, which has allowed them to increase ROI and reduce wasted budgets on ineffective strategies.

What Are The Challenges Of Marketing Attribution?

Developing a perfect attribution model that guides all of your decisions is a pipedream for most marketers.

Here are five challenges that result in inconclusive data models or total project abandonment:

Cross-Channel Management

This is a common challenge for enterprise marketers who have web assets across multiple websites, channels, and teams.

Without proper analytics tagging and system settings configuration, your web activities may not be tracked accurately as a visitor goes from one campaign micro-site to the main domain.

Or, the prospect may not be tracked as they go from your website to get directions to then go to your physical storefront to transact.

Making Decisions Based On Small Sample Sizes

For smaller trafficked websites, marketers using attribution data may not have statistically significant data sets to draw accurate correlations for future campaigns.

This results in faulty assumptions and the inability to repeat prior success.

Lack Of Tracking Compliance

If your attribution models rely on offline activities, then you may require manual imports of data or proper logging of sales activities.

From my experience in overseeing hundreds of CRM implementations, there is always some level of non-compliance in logging activities (like calls, meetings, or emails). This leads to skewed attribution models.

Mo‘ models, mo’ problems: Each analytics platform has a set of five or more attribution models you can use to optimize your campaigns around.

Without a clear understanding of the pros and cons of each model, the person building the attribution reporting may not be structuring or configuring them to align with your organizational goals.

Data Privacy

Since GDPR, CCPA, and other privacy laws were enacted, analytics data continues to get murkier each year.

For organizations that rely on web visitors to opt-in to tracking, attribution modeling suffers due to the inability to pull in tracking for every touchpoint.

How Do You Measure Marketing Attribution?

Measuring attribution is all about giving credit where it is due. There are dozens of attribution tools out there to assign credit to the digital or offline touchpoint.

Attribution measurement starts with choosing the data model that aligns with your business goals.

Certain attribution models favor interactions earlier on in the customer journey whereas others give the most credit towards interactions closer to a transaction.

Here is a scenario of how to measure marketing attribution in a first-touch attribution model (we’ll get to the different models next):

A prospect comes to the website through a paid search ad and reads the blog.

Two days later, she comes back to the site and views a couple of product pages.

Three days later, she comes back through an organic listing from Google and then converts on the site by signing up for a discount coupon.

With a first-touch attribution model, the paid search ad will get 100% of the credit for that conversion.

As you can see, choosing the “right” model can be a contentious issue, as each model gives a percentage of credit to a specific interaction or placement along the path toward becoming a customer.

If your business relies on paid search, SEO, offline, and other channels, then likely one of the individuals working on one of those channels is going to look like the superhero, whereas the other marketers will look like they aren’t pulling their weight.

Ideally, when you are choosing an attribution tool, you’ll be able to build reports that allow you to compare various attribution models, so you have a better understanding of which channels and interactions are most influential during certain time periods leading up to conversion or purchase.

What Are Different Marketing Attribution Models?

Marketers can use various marketing attribution models to examine the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Each attribution tool has will have a handful of models you can optimize campaigns and build reports around. Here is a description of each model:

First-Click Attribution

This model gives credit to the first channel that the customer interacted with.

This model is popular to use when optimizing for brand awareness and top-of-funnel conversions/engagement.

Last-Click Attribution

This model gives all of the credit to the last channel that the customer interacts with.

This model is useful when looking to understand which channels/interactions were most influential immediately before converting/purchasing.

Last-click attribution is the default attribution model for Google Analytics.

Multi-Touch/Channel Attribution

This model gives credit to all of the channels or touchpoints that the customer interacted with throughout their journey.

This model is used when you are looking to give weight evenly or to specific interactions.

There are variations of the multi-touch model including time-decay, linear, U-shaped, W-shaped, and J-shaped.

Customized

This model allows you to manually set the weight for individual channels or placements within the customer journey.

This model is best for organizations that have experience in using attribution modeling, and have clear goals for what touchpoints are most impactful in the buyers’ journey.

Marketing Attribution Tools

There are several different tools available to help marketers measure and analyze marketing attribution. Some attribution tools are features within marketing automation platforms or CRM systems like Active Campaign or HubSpot.

Others are stand-alone attribution tools that rely on API or integrations to pull in and analyze data, like Triple Whale or Dreamdata.

As you are evaluating tools, consider how much offline or sales data needs to be included within your attribution models.

For systems like HubSpot, you can include sales activities (like phone calls and 1:1 sales emails) and offline list import data (from tradeshows).

Other tools, like Google Analytics, are not natively built to pull in that kind of data and would require advanced development work to include these activities as part of your model.

(Full disclosure: I work with HubSpot’s highest-rated partner agency, SmartBug Media.)

Additionally, if you need to be able to see the very specific touchpoints (like a specific email sent or an ad clicked), then you need a full-funnel attribution system that shows this level of granularity.

Attribution modeling is a powerful tool that marketers can use to measure the success of their campaigns, optimize online/offline channels, and improve customer interactions.

It is important, though, to understand attribution’s limitations, the pros and cons of each model, and the challenges with extracting conclusive data before investing large budgets towards attribution technology.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Yuriy K/Shutterstock



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Lead Generation: How To Get Started

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Lead Generation: How To Get Started

Today’s consumers have an almost limitless amount of information at their fingertips. Podcasts, videos, blog posts, and social media – are just a few of the sources that can drive them toward one brand over another.

If it’s your job to attract these potential customers, you know the struggles of generating high-quality leads.

In this piece, we’ll take a closer look at lead generation, discussing the different types of leads you could attract and providing some strategies and examples for lead gen that you can put to use right away.

What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is a marketing process of capturing potential consumers who show interest in your product or service.

The goal is to connect with people early in the buying process, earn their trust and build a relationship so that, when they’re ready to make a purchase, they buy from you.

But lead generation also serves secondary objectives, including building brand awareness, collecting customer data, and fostering brand loyalty.

With this in mind, it’s important to remember that not everyone who visits your store or website is a lead.

That’s why successful lead gen goes after specific targets, using a variety of platforms and strategies including:

  • Landing pages – Using a tracking pixel, landing pages collect information about visitors you can later use to target them for sales.
  • Email – Email is a great lead generation tool because the recipients will have opted in, which means they’re already familiar with your brand.
  • Social media – With unmatched opportunities for engagement, your social media accounts are a great way to encourage your targets to take action.
  • Blogs – A great way to establish authority and provide value, blogs are also a great place to promote specific offers.
  • Live events – When it comes to qualifying leads, live events are a great way to meet your target audience and quickly identify the ones more likely to make a purchase.
  • Coupons and other promotions – Offering a discount or free item is a great way to encourage targets to provide their contact information.

What will ultimately work best for you will depend on your niche and your audience.

As you experiment with different lead generation strategies, you may find one more successful than the others. This means you should probably make that channel your priority, whereas others may not be of any use at all.

But we’ll get to all that later.

First, let’s talk about leads.

The Different Types Of Leads

Sales is the engine that drives any business. Without sales, there’s no revenue. Without revenue, there’s no business. So, it’s kind of important.

But it’s a massive field. The approach a medical monitoring sensor salesperson takes is going to be very different from a used car salesman.

But both of them – and every other sales professional for that matter – have one thing in common: they need to spend most of their time pursuing the people who are most likely to buy.

In general, leads fall into seven categories:

  • Hot Leads – These leads are ready to convert. They are qualified and interested in your offering, and are the most likely to convert to a sale. For example, this might be the purchasing director who has had several conversations with you and received a product demo. They have purchasing authority and a timeline.
  • Cold Leads – These are potential customers who may be unfamiliar with your brand or offering. As of yet, they have shown no interest in what you’re selling. Generally speaking, these are the hardest leads to convert to sales.
  • Warm Leads – A middle ground between the two previous types of leads, these are people who are familiar with who you are and what you offer. They’re the type who watch your videos or read your blogs, but haven’t contacted you directly. Your goal is to warm them up into hot leads.
  • Information Qualified Leads (IQLs) – This is the kind of lead who has already shown some interest in your company and has followed a call to action. Maybe they signed up for your email newsletter or filled out a lead generation form. They are often looking for more information and will react positively to a nurturing campaign.
  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) – MQLs are one step further down the pipeline from IQLs. They are actively searching for a solution that fits their needs, and are trying to discover if yours is the right fit. These are the types of leads who will download your whitepapers, watch your videos, and attend your corporate seminars.
  • Sales Ready Leads (SRLs) – Sometimes called “accepted leads,” these are the bottom-of-the-funnel leads who are almost ready to pull the trigger on a purchase. It’s important to understand their budgets, purchasing authority, needs, and timeframe.
  • Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) – These leads are ready to buy and should be in communication with your sales team. They are considered very hot, however, you should be aware that they are likely still considering some of your competitors.

The Lead Generation Process

As you have probably gathered by this point, lead generation is a multiple-step process.

Yours will vary, depending on whether you’re focusing on inbound or outbound generation – but both should follow a similar pathway.

Step 1: Do Your Research

Before you start trying to collect leads, you need to gather as much information as possible about your target audience. You want to know not just who they are, but where they live, what’s important to them, and most importantly, what their pain points are, particularly those that are the most pressing.

It’s often a good idea to create customer personas, in which you define the demographics, budget, and needs of typical customers. You may want to consider social habits, professional experience, and even psychological traits.

Once you know who you’re going after, it’s time to identify where they are. Are they active on Facebook, or more likely to respond to an email? Again, this will vary depending on your specific circumstances.

This is also the stage where you should check out the competition. What are they doing? What differentiates your offering from theirs? And most importantly, why is it better?

Step 2: Create Great Content

By now, you should know what needs your offering fills for your potential customers. Use this information to create content that solves it.

Your choice of medium will affect your content format. For example, videos work great on social media, but you can’t embed them in an email.

Likewise, if you’re going after your target audience on Twitter, your lengthy blogs are going to need to be linked to, or at the very least truncated.

Never forget your focus is on adding value. Each piece of content you create should serve a specific purpose, whether that’s educating your audience about your offering, building brand awareness or promoting a sale.

Step 3: Develop A Lead Generation Database

You can have the hottest leads on the planet, but they won’t do you a bit of good if you don’t handle them the right way.

You should create and use a lead database where you can record, study, filter, and segment your potential customers.

Ideally, you’ll want to get an automated CRM system to dramatically reduce the labor involved with this.

Most of these will allow you to tag leads based on the type and how hot they are. This allows your sales team to work through their lists in a more efficient manner, dedicating the most attention to those with the biggest chance of converting.

Step 4: Qualify And Score Leads

Not all leads are going to be in the same place in the sales funnel. Some will be ready to buy today, while others may just be getting an idea of what’s out there.

You need to adjust your approach based on this.

Most companies use a lead scoring system of 1-100, which indicates approximately where the lead is in the customer journey. They are assigned points based on their actions, with more serious actions resulting in more points.

For example, following your Facebook page could be worth 10 points, filling out a “Request a demo” form might be worth 20, and opening and reading an email could be 5. If a lead does all three of these, their lead score would be 35.

These numbers will give you a general idea of where they are from the following stages:

  • New leads, who have just made initial contact.
  • Working leads, with whom you have had contact and initiated a conversation.
  • Nurturing leads, who are not interested in buying right now, but might in the future.
  • Unqualified leads, who are not interested in your offering. These are sometimes called “dead leads.”
  • Qualified leads, or those who want to do business with you.

Obviously, you should focus more time and energy on the leads that have a higher probability of converting.

Lead Generation Strategies And Examples

The ways you can generate leads are practically endless, but in this section, we’ll discuss some of the more common strategies you can employ, plus give you examples of them at work.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the practice of creating engaging and informative content that provides value for leads and customers, thereby generating interest in a business.

This can span both traditional and digital marketing, and is an important part of any successful marketing strategy. It can include things like newsletters, podcasts, videos, and social media.

You can use content marketing for any stage of the sales funnel, from growing brand awareness with timely blogs, creating demand or demonstrating thought leadership with white papers, driving organic traffic via SEO, building trust, and earning customer loyalty.

To make the most of yours, offer many opt-in opportunities and make them more enticing by adding discounts, guides, or something of value in exchange.

Email Marketing

Email remains a popular choice for lead generation for a good reason: it works.

A study by Mailchimp found 22.71% of marketing emails were opened, with some industries seeing even higher rates.

Whether you’re sending out a monthly newsletter or a cold outreach email to a potential prospect, email remains one of your best bets for generating new leads.

One of the more cost-effective means of generating leads, email marketing also allows you to segment your targets with customized content that promotes maximum engagement.

Another reason email marketing is a favorite for so many organizations is that it provides incredible opportunities for tracking. A quality CRM will give you a lot of useful data, including open rate, engagement time, and subscriber retention, allowing you to fine-tune your campaigns.

Social Media Marketing

Almost everyone is on social media these days, which makes it the ideal place to hunt down leads.

Social media platforms not only allow you to directly interact with your followers, but they also let you create advertising targeted at highly specific audiences.

Interaction is simplified thanks to multiple user-friendly CTAs like Instagram Stories’ skip option and truncated URLs on Twitter.

Screenshot from Facebook, January 2023

Social media is also a great place to run contests or share gated content.

You can use paid ads like the one above to target new leads,  share content that will generate them organically, or ideally, a mix of both.

Coupons, Discounts, And Free Trials

If you’re like many people, you may be reluctant to provide your email address to businesses in case they start spamming your inbox.

As a business, however, this can be a problem.

The way to overcome this trepidation is to offer people something of value in return for their contact information.

A risk-free trial or discount code is a powerful tool for overcoming sales barriers. And once a target has tried your offering, you can retarget them with additional offers to encourage a sale.

Give them a free gift, offer a coupon, or allow them to take your product for a test drive, and you’ll find many more people willing to give you their info.

Free pizza couponScreenshot from author, January 2023

Online Ads

Display advertisements are videos and images that pop up as you’re browsing websites, apps, and social media.

They, along with paid search and PPC, are a great way to reach your intended customers where they are.

Display ads are particularly useful for targeting leads across the buyers’ journey, as well as promoting awareness and sales, promotions, or new products.

google search ads result for chairsScreenshot from Google, January 2023

Remarketing ads are a great way to reengage leads who have stopped short of a purchase, while non-intrusive native ads are perfect for extending your content marketing efforts.

Referral Marketing

A great way to find new leads is to let your existing customers find them for you. Encourage them to write reviews or recommend friends in return for a discount or something else of value.

AAA insurance referral adImage from AAA Insurance, January 2023

This is an excellent way to fill your funnel of leads – and make more sales. Referrals and online reviews give you an authenticity and trust level that no in-house marketing campaign can ever duplicate.

Did you know that when shopping online, more than 99.9% of people read reviews? Or that 94% of consumers acknowledged positive reviews made them more likely to support a business? And that’s not even including the power of personal recommendations from friends and family.

Referral marketing is a great tool for lead generation because it presents your brand in a positive light to more people.

Best Practices For Lead Generation

To ensure you’re getting the most out of your lead generation efforts, keep these tips in mind:

Use Your Data

You likely have a lot of information about leads and the types of strategies that work for them already at your fingertips.

Gather yours by looking at previous pieces that have worked well, whether it’s blogs that get a lot of reads, emails that have a high open-rate, or display ads that bring in a lot of traffic.

Look for general themes or things you did differently on high-performers. This will give you insight into the kind of things that resonate with your audience.

Be Consistent With Messaging

Make sure it’s very obvious to any web visitor or email recipient what action they should take next. Offer them a reason to click your links and keep your messaging clear and consistent.

You should maintain the same tone of voice across channels as you move prospects through the sales funnel. Remember, you’re not just interested in capturing data – you’re trying to create a customer.

A/B Testing

Every marketer knows the importance of testing different versions of collateral. This is because, no matter how well something is performing, it could always do better.

You should experiment with different headlines, images, body copy, etc.

Just remember to only test one aspect at once, lest you miss which change made a difference.

And again, don’t forget the opt-ins.

Use The Power Of CRM Technology

To ensure your sales and marketing teams are operating as efficiently as possible, but a lead generation platform to work for you.

The right tool can help you gather information about your targets, monitor their behavior on your website and identify what’s driving them to you.

Armed with this data, you can then optimize your pages and campaigns to better target your audience.

Create Enticing Offers At Every Stage

People at different stages of the purchasing journey want different things.

Someone who is just curious about seeing what’s out there isn’t likely to respond to a free demo offer, but someone who is further along the funnel might.

Make sure you’re offering something for every buying stage and that you have clear CTAs throughout your materials.

Integrate Social Media

Social media is the ideal platform for initiating conversations and interactions with leads at all stages.

While many marketers typically think of it as primarily for top-of-funnel targeting, by strategically using proven offers and other things of value, you can also go after those leads who are closer to making a purchase.

Clean Up Your Landing Pages

Users want information presented to them in a clean, easy-to-understand manner. No one is trying to read “War and Peace” to find a new vending machine supplier.

Put your important information at the top, and make it clear where visitors can input their information to contact you or get content.

Use Your Partners

Co-marketing is a great way to generate new leads because it allows you to piggyback on the efforts of partner companies.

Create mutually beneficial offers and you’ll spend the word about your brand to a larger audience, which will attract new leads.

Bring Your Sales Team In

Marketers prime the pump, but sales drives the action. Make sure to loop your sales team into the lead generation process early and often.

They will likely have personal insight into what works best to move targets along the purchasing path.

This will also ensure you remain on the same page as far as what terms mean.

Remarket, Remarket, Remarket

Almost no one makes a purchase on first contact, particularly in B2B sales. That makes remarketing an important arrow for your quiver.

It helps turn bouncers into leads and abandoners into customers – and it amplifies all your other marketing activities.

Make Lead Generation A Priority

No one ever said it was easy to find, score, and qualify leads, but it’s an important part of ensuring the growth and financial health of your business.

Nurturing customers and potential customers is hard work. But without it, you’ll struggle to make new sales.

This piece only covered lead generation from a high level, but hopefully, it has equipped you with some strategies you can employ to attract new leads and nurture existing ones.

If you only take a single thing away from this make it this: Put most of your efforts into higher-quality leads, because they’re the ones who are most likely to make a purchase.

And remember – lead generation is an ongoing process. You’re not going to see results overnight, but if you put in the work, you’ll start to generate the results you want.

Happy hunting.

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Response to ChatGPT $20 Plan: Take My Money!

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Response to ChatGPT $20 Plan: Take My Money!

OpenAI announced a new subscription service to ChatGPT called ChatGPT Plus that offers several benefits over the free version. Fans of OpenAI were wildly enthusiastic about the prospect for a more reliable service.

Many users around the world were pleased to know that the free version will continue to be offered.

OpenAI ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a useful AI tool for writing-related tasks, as well as for obtaining general information.

The free version is used by millions of users. Although it is hosted on Microsoft data centers the service falters during periods of peak usage and becomes unavailable.

OpenAI benefits from the usage because the feedback is useful for training the machine to become better.

The new subscription model is intended to subsidize the free users.

OpenAI Subscription Model

The new subscription version, called ChatGPT Plus, will cost $20/month.

Initially, ChatGPT will be available to users in the United States and will expand to other countries and regions “soon.”

There is no estimate or indication of how soon the service will be available outside of the United States.

But the fact that there’s a waitlist for United States users to subscribe might be an indication.

The Public Is Enthusiastic

To say that potential customers are enthusiastic about ChatGPT Plus is an understatement.

The response on Twitter could be boiled down to one phrase: Shut up and take my money.

 

One person applauded OpenAI for keeping a free version available:

Multiple people asked about plans for non-profits and for students.

This tweet is representative of the requests for student plans:

Future of ChatGPT

ChatGPT will be launching a ChatGPT API waitlist soon, which will open up the service to new ways of interacting with it.

OpenAI also plans to learn more about user needs and how to best serve users during the course of the new subscription service.

Once they have more experience with it, OpenAI plans to offer additional plans, including lower cost versions.

They shared:

“…we are actively exploring options for lower-cost plans, business plans, and data packs for more availability.”

This could have been Google’s win.But OpenAI and Microsoft beat them with a useful product and have captured the fascination and admiration of users worldwide.

2023 is going to be an exciting year of AI driven innovation.

Featured image by Shutterstock/Max kegfire



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