93% of online experiences begin with a search engine like Google, Yahoo! or Bing.
If you’re like us, you need potential clients to find you online when they search for you. Period.
As you can imagine, there are lots of people searching Google for web design companies. And the competition is fierce. We all know that very few go to page 2 of Google searches. So, if we’re not on the first page for searches like “dallas web design” or “web design tyler tx,” we may as well be on another planet. To avoid playing digital hide-and-seek, we needed to perform a series of tasks aimed at optimizing local search visibility.
Here is a sneak peek as to how we did it and how you can do it too.
Step 1: Set up & complete your Google My Business profile.
This is your first and most crucial step.
Google your business address. Copy the address precisely as Google has it. Don’t modify it or change it in any way. If your phone number is listed there using dashes between the numbers, don’t use dots on your website.
You will also need to have the Google My Business listing fully filled out or completed as much as possible. The more, the better. Get all the correct sizes on your logos and cover photo and be sure and add all your products or services.
Make sure there is a way to gather and promote local reviews for your listing as well.
2. Set up your other business citations.
Google My Business will be your primary citation, but you still need scores more. They all need to be verified and completed and 100% consistent with each other. An excellent tool to acquire these is to use a service like BrightLocal.
Google is looking for a good user experience. If someone wants to get in touch with you, can they do that easily from the listing you provide? Is it confusing? Are they working?
Make sure your website has pages for each product or service that you plan to market.
This will allow you to use various keywords throughout, which will greatly enhance your chances of visibility. Google wants to direct traffic to the sites that have content specified to the interest of its users.
This helps with SEO and gives the best user experience, which is one of Google’s top-ranking factors.
4. Create pages for your service areas.
You will also need “city pages” if you offer in a specific geographical area.
EX: HVAC companies operating in North Texas will want to have pages for each city in North Texas (“hvac company dallas tx”, hvac services denton tx”).
You can do the same with counties. Be as specific as you can. You could even go into neighborhoods and even streets. It all depends on the search volume related to your business.
5. Make sure all On-Page SEO is done to perfection.
Ensure that all the alt tags and meta descriptions are completed. Make sure that your heading hierarchy is done correctly (H1, H2, H3, etc).
A good web design team will also make sure that your internal linking structure is optimized, giving you better chances to outrank your competition. But more importantly, a well-organized website is simpler and easier to navigate.
6. Continue creating relevant content.
Give the people what they want. Free stuff!
Continuously generate content that your visitors will want to read, bookmark, and share with friends. The more you beef up your site with relevant content, the longer your visitors will stay on your site and the more authority your pages will have.
The best way to do this is to blog. Posting 600-800 word posts once or twice a month will go a long way to push you past your competitors, who like you, are probably too busy to make these posts, but who also don’t realize their value for local recognition.
The most critical part of any business is also the most neglected.
A company brand.
Branding is your business. There isn’t a question as to whether or not you will have a brand. That is a given. The question is whether or not you will build your brand or have one built for you.
Your “brand” is your reputation. It is how you are perceived in the eyes of the public.
When many start their businesses; they do all the necessary legal stuff like getting their licenses in place, opening up a bank account, etc. Once they can say they exist, then what? Most leap immediately into advertising. This is a mistake.
The best place to start is with your website and a branding strategy. We believe those two can be done at the same time and in tandem with one another. In this post, we will show you how, but first, we need to clarify a few things.
What is the difference between branding and marketing?
Marketing is branding. Let’s put it this way; if marketing were driving a car, then a brand would be the car. Marketing teams like us help you build that brand; then we give it a face and promote it (or drive it).
That is marketing. Establishing a brand and perpetuating it out to your target audience.
You might be thinking, “Okay, but I still don’t see the need for a brand. I mean why can’t I just be who I am, work hard, maybe hire a salesperson and just let the chips fall where they may.”
One of the reasons you need to be proactive in marketing and branding is because business today is extremely challenging and competitive. To be successful in almost any industry requires you to think proactively and strategically about your place in the market. Branding yourself is step one.
Another is because the whole concept of “selling” is slowly dying. Products and services are bought, not sold in today’s economy. People buy brands that are already “pre-sold” by the companies marketing efforts.
It is the reason we pay a lot for a cup of coffee from Starbucks when we could get a much cheaper one at a donut shop or a gas station.
It is the reason we pay $1000 for a smartphone from Apple or $500 for a shirt from Gucci. It is why we buy Heinz ketchup or Energizer batteries almost without even thinking about it.
We are buying a brand.
How to create an effective brand
Branding is about perception and perception is what sells. Branding is a more effective way to sell. Marketing is the process of communicating that perception repeatedly until it sticks and stays stuck in the public’s mind.
(1) Narrow your target audience and service to them.
In other words, don’t try and do too much for too many or try and please everyone: the narrower your focus, the more potent your brand.
(2) Don’t be afraid to be different.
Different is good. Our natural instinct tells us to fit in and be like everyone else. We want our colleagues to see we are adhering to the industry standards. To some degree this is okay, but fitting in also means not standing out, and that ultimately means you become the proverbial “needle in a haystack”. Really you become a “piece of hay in a haystack”. Why follow when you can lead?
(3) Being first is better than being better.
People don’t care about better. They want what is new and fresh. If you ask many business owners what stands out about them, they will begin to tell you how much more skilled, safer, or more trustworthy they are than their competition. The only problem is, their competition is saying that too. Instead of getting into that unending war with them, find some way to be innovative and different. Find a way you can own a word in the public’s mind in a way no one else can. As your marketing team, we can help you establish that unique standing in your industry.
What about advertising?
Once you have established a brand and are effectively communicating it, advertising keeps it healthy. Advertising keeps your competition from moving in on you. But it should typically come after you have established a brand.
New businesses are prone to set up shop and then start pouring countless dollars into things like Google Ads. The problem with that is once you stop paying for those ads, everything stops and nothing remains. You are once again, out of sight/out of mind in the world of your customers.
But if you have sufficiently branded yourself and steadily marketed that brand, then advertising will help maintain it. Today’s most powerful brands are built up with publicity and then kept there by advertising.
How does a website fit into all this?
Your website is the face of your brand. It can also be where it begins and where the promotion of it takes place. For your business to soar, you need to have a website that helps establish and skyrocket your brand in your desired location(s).
Your website is often the first encounter with your customers and therefore, their first impression with you. What they think of you or about you will begin online and on your site.
How can a website help your brand? A new website is a great way to begin asking some fundamental questions about your brand and then watch those answers come to life.
(1) Why are you in business?
It seems obvious – to make money. Or maybe, you got a great product or service no one else has. But for many, it runs deeper than that.
Read the Starbucks mission statement for example,
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
Starbucks isn’t selling coffee; they are selling a feeling—they are selling a brand.
Chances are you didn’t just get into your line of work just to make money. Think about what inspires you and communicate that to your visitors. That can be the headline on your About page. It can be your mission statement that speaks to the heart of your customers.
(2) Who are you in business for?
Who will comprise the traffic to your website?. Who do you want there? When you have a website made, your marketing team should assist you in brainstorming who that is and what they want.
Everything should be done with them in mind, including style, font, color, images, etc.
What will the copy sound like? It will sound like them. Are they professionals? Are they laid-back country folk? Your website can help establish your voice in a way that resonates with them.
(3) What is your main offer?
The headline on the Home Page should tell them what your primary proposal is for them. Make it irresistible. The rest of the home page fleshes that offer out. All your benefits that you mention on the site enhance that offer. The content of the entire website should stay lasered in on that offer and the Call To Action (CTA) will help them know how they can get access to it.
(4) How will you promote your brand?
Websites are the hub of all your digital marketing efforts. Everything you do on social media or via email will either come from your website or lead to it.
One of the best ways to promote a brand is through blogging. Consistent content that comes from your site that engages your readers and provides useful and practical information that will only enhance your reputation. It gives your “should be” customers the chance to get to know you and be helped by you, even before they have chosen to work with you.
A great website doesn’t only look good and function well, but also effectively helps you begin and continue to do the most important thing you can do – be a fantastic brand! The Copy Rocker can help you do just that.
Your website is often your customer’s first impression of your business.
Read that again.
Gone are the days you just throw up a “canned” site just so you can check it off the list.
Websites are able to bring you new customers, IF they are found (SEO) and then once they are – IF they can convert (CRO).
Does your convert? Are you getting calls, emails, and visits simply because they “found your website”?
As web content writers our job is to get them to sign-up or take action as soon as possible. The first page they often see will be your home page. I wanna show you how you can make sure that the home page won’t deflect the visitor but capture them!
Think of your home page (from top to bottom) in this way…
Let’s say that you are at a business convention in Dallas, TX with a lot of new potential customers. You are also in the room with lots of other businesses trying to get their attention. But you are allowed one sentence from the microphone in order to gain awareness.
What would you say? That’s Step 1.
1. Headline (Irresistible Offer)
Your header is your point of contact. How you and the customer or client identify with each other.
According to the copywriting guru himself, Eugene Schwartz, a headline has one purpose and one purpose only. It isn’t to sell, be cute, be clever, or even be clear. The point of your headline is to get them to read the next line of copy. That’s it. It’s your hook. It captures them.
So let’s say you are a plumber. Would you take your one chance at the mic and simply say, “[Your business name] Plumbers” – and that’s it?
What would make people in the room stop their conversations and turn around and go “Hmmm? Interesting”. That’s what you want in what’s called the “above the fold” portion. That is your headline.
So what should your headline be?
We suggest that you make it the one thing that you provide for them. A need of theirs that you can meet that they would be crazy to pass up. It’s your offer. An irresistible offer!
You may offer more than one thing but take some time and brainstorm how you can narrow that down to just one simple statement or two.
It may take some time to come up with what that may be but the time you spend contemplating it is worth it. It is also something that the team at Digital Skyrocket can help you with.
Okay so once you got that, what next?
2. What do you do?/Who Are You (Clarity)
So you got their attention. You set down the mic and someone approaches you.
I like to see this part as your handshake. Sorry, elbow bump since we are social distancing:
Tell them briefly and directly without any inside lingo, who you are, and what you do.
Don’t be cute. Be clear.
Your Home Page will naturally need to link to other pages on your site so here is where you can list your services/specialties or subpages as needed. I’m all about “every page needs to convert” so my advice is to make sure these links are obvious links but don’t make this portion of your page the focus.
(Remember we are working down the page)
3. Why should I care? (Main benefit)
The dry intro. It had to be done. Now they might be thinking about going back to the bar or to get another helping of chips and salsa.
Remember everyone and I mean everyone who visits your site has R.A.D.D. (Reader Attention Deficit Disorder). They lose interest fast and when that happens you lose them.
Tell them why they should care. It doesn’t have to be clever. Just personal.
Don’t think about trying to speak to every potential customer. Pick one (your target) and speak to him/her directly.
Tip: A case study in video format works great for this section.
4. Who else cares? (Support)
People rarely want to do anything alone or for the first time. Show them the experiences of others and be sure to make these testimonies as real as possible.
Imagine that same scenario above. You are visiting with this person who wants to know about your business and while you are talking someone interrupts you to tell them, “Listen to this guy. He is the best”. Clinching your teeth, you think to yourself, “Yes! Pure gold”.
5. If I believe you, how will my life improve? (Benefits)
Now you really have their attention.
Here is where you can go layer upon layer with benefits. Be passionate and speak to the heart. PLEASE, don’t use a bunch of jargon no one will understand or blabber on about how great you are.
Speak to their need.
Speak to their interests.
Speak to their problems and how you are going to solve them.
6. Kinda convinced but show me how this works (Technical, Appeal to Logic)
Now you can unleash the pro in you. This is probably the only section of the home page that the actual profession itself should entirely dominate.
Here you can place your credentials, proof, data, additional testimonials from credible sources, etc. Remember to still speak to the customer and tie your information into the benefits you have already promised them.
7. Okay, give me just a little more cause I’m almost there. (Promotion)
Got any specials, discounts, or anything to wash this down with?
Right before someone takes the plunge it’s good to coax them a little with a small offer, rebate or even assurance of some fact or outcome. Anything to ease them toward home base….
8. Okay, I believe you. Now what? (Info + Benefit)
The Call To Action. My favorite part. I have only three rules for any call to action to be as effective as it can be…
#1. Be personable
#2: Invite them to a benefit. Don’t just order them to do a task.
#3. Finish it.
Don’t add new info or direct them somewhere else. Close the deal.
Ok now try it. Your homepage won’t just sit, it will soar.
Ever live in an apartment? If you have then you’ve seen that trash can sitting beside the mailboxes. It is filled to overflowing.
With “junk mail”.
People have zero tolerance for junk or spam in their mailbox.
The only mail that seems to get opened nearly 100% of the time are those adorable envelopes with handwritten names and addresses. The more personal, the more we just can’t bring ourselves to chunk it.
We hate solicitors.
The same goes for our inboxes.
Since we can’t write a handwritten email or drop off a gift basket, there are still ways to get people’s attention and gain a hearing for whatever it is we are selling or wanting our customers to receive.
Let’s try something different shall we?
Here are six email subject formulas you can hang onto that can help save you from the virtual trash heap or spam list and even help you have a little fun while you’re at it.
The 6 Email Subject Line Formulas:
1. The A-List
Very common yet very effective.
“6 ways champions…”
“5 habits of a corporate badass”
Not sure if anyone knows why we love lists the way we do but many content marketers believe it is because we know it is usually a quick and easy way to store information.
Made you wanna read this post didn’t it?
2. The Facts
People love facts. Especially the unusual ones.
The idea is to get some strange, but the relevant fact in the subject line that appeals to your audience and gets “the click”.
“Two factory workers laid off after an explosion”
“An ingredient in soap that actually causes paralysis”
You can find loads of these online, just make sure that the weird fact isn’t merely the bait and is actually fact not fiction.
It also needs to be relevant to the industry or market and tie into the overall message. It doesn’t need to be silly or extravagant either – just interesting.
3. The Woe
Find some annoyance that your target is plagued with and get right to the fix.
“Stop your mind from racing and get some sleep”
“Is your website hideous? We can make it gorgeous”
*Remember no one cares about you or your new features or services. They care about themselves. Show them how you can help them be the hero if they just take the time to open and read on.
4. The Stalker
Say hello to someone on the street and they may just walk on by. Ask them a question and they almost always feel compelled to turn around. Ask them something personal and they will stop dead in their tracks.
“What the heck is wrong with your roof?”
“Why do you leave work so fast?”
5. The Gossip
Make them feel like they are getting the inside dope on what no one else knows about.
“My wife told me I could tell you this”
“What major retail chains are nervous you’ll find?”
6. The This & The These
Inspire them to take a peek and see what your email is about. The word “this” & “these”, used the right way, has the ability to do that.
“This is what your office desk has been missing”
“These would look great with your yoga pants!”
Being compelling isn’t trickery. Never trick your audience. Know them well and make sure that whatever subject line you choose, always deliver on the embedded promise that meets their need.
Deep down we all know what emails are going to attempt to do, but the main difference in the successful ones and all the rest is whether they use the same old dry tactics and are even opened at all.
At Digital Skyrocket, although we don’t do email marketing services we do offer consultations regarding them. We can also recommend you to someone who does.
Have you spent a lot of money on a website that isn’t performing well for your business?
Do you feel stuck because you are failing to reach people online?
Do you have a genuine passion for people and know that your products or services will help them, but something about your website isn’t “clicking” with them.
You know your website needs help, but you have no idea what to do to fix it?
You have spent a TON of money with LITTLE return on your investment.
If so, then these blog posts are for you.
In these posts we are going to show you not only what is wrong with your website, but how to get started in getting those issues fixed and towards getting more customers online.
Let’s start with copywriting.
Do you copy?
You should. Most choose not to have copywriting on their website because when they hear that word, they think, sales. No one wants to sound pushy and we don’t want to come across as cheesy and obnoxious.
So we opted just to provide our visitors with the basics. We give them facts. But what every business owner needs to understand (and don’t take this personally), people don’t care about you.
They care about themselves.
What they should see on your website is not necessarily “Who you are”, but “How you can help them”.
Copywriting does that. It takes the information your company wants others to know about and with laser focus, aims it towards the emotions and desires of the customer.
Hubspot’s marketing professionals found that your calls-to-action (CTA) are 202% more effective if it is made “personal!”
So copywriting is critical for the success of your website.
Why does it work?
Here is a little buyer’s psychology.
No one buys what they need. We buy what we want.
If we only bought what we needed then we would be living in tents and eating ramen noodles. But we’re not. We say things like, “I need a new pair of shoes” and chances are the soles of the ones you have are not missing, nor are you walking around barefoot.
We don’t just want a house, but a dream house.
We don’t just buy clothes; we buy clothes that fit our style or represent us the way we want to be to the world.
We don’t just buy food, we buy the kinds of foods that make us feel healthier or happier.
The reality is, we’re buying what we want and justifying it by saying it’s what we need.
Copywriters know this. We can use our skills to take someone who is merely searching for say, “dallas web design”, directly to a website that does more than display great design, but can also speak to the benefits of having a beautifully designed website and how it can get you leads!
How copywriting works.
Question: What is a website?
The “official” definition is a collection of web pages that lives on the internet and provides a broad overview of your business.
In some ways, we think of it sort of like businesses used to think of a yellow page listing. You want to be there.
But what if we thought of your website more as an online showroom. Suppose you were to open for business and invite the public to get a taste of what services/products you provide.
Changes your thinking doesn’t it?
Rather than a digital placeholder, a website should be your most effective marketing tool!
It’s your virtual handshake with your “should-be” customers.
It is your first impression.
This means that not only are you wanting them to feel welcome on your website, but you want them to feel like they are being spoken to and “understood”.
Your website is an invitation to your ideal prospects to stop in for a cup of coffee and a chat to see if what you sell is the right fit for them. So in writing “copy”, you get to relate to them:
What are their pains?
What is the solution?
What are their fears about trying this solution?
Who else has made this decision (and what do they think)?
Copywriting is careful to make sure that any features of your business get thoroughly marinated in benefits.
Ex: If you are a service provider, instead of saying, “We’ve been in business for 30 years.” Say, “Our 30 years of experience ensures you that you get service that is knowledgeable, reputable, safe, etc.”
Ex: If you do lawn care, don’t bore them with the specs on your new weed whacker. Show them how you can make them the envy of the neighborhood or at least the kind of yard people that will make them want to do a slow drive-by.
Summing it up.
People don’t want your products and services. They want to feel safe. They want transformation.
A better life.
Buying can be fun. Being sold to is not. Good copywriting will not push your clients away but will keep them on your website and lead them to take the necessary action and lead them straight to your door.
How do you market yourself online? How can you capture more leads and make it easy for “come-back” customers?
After taking 5 courses, reading 50+ books, and listening/watching to tons of videos and lectures; I figured it was time to save time for all my business friends out there sweat’n it. To give them a “short & sweet” summary of all I’ve learned.
So without further ado, let’s do this….
The Digital Marketing Checklist
1. Decide: Who is your target customer?
I delayed answering this one for some time. Mostly because I was afraid of limiting myself to only one type of client.
Don’t make this mistake!
In the book “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding” Al Ries explains that “The power of a brand is inversely proportional to its scope”. This means the more you narrow your target client the more potent your message and the greater your potential for recognition and success.
Even though you think everyone needs what you have to offer and you are eager to offer your services or products to the whole ginormous universe – laser your efforts to your dream client. If possible, you can even choose a specific location, like Fort Worth, TX.
Spend some time typing up a “ghost bio”. Who are they? What do they love? Where do they live? Age? Height? Whatever you can come up with. The more the better.
2. Know: Who you are.
Let’s face the facts – you are likely NOT the only person offering what you are offering. So you have to ask yourself, “Why choose me?”. It’s called your USP (Unique Selling Position). It is what sets you apart from your competitors.
No matter how small or common you think you’re business is – try and list everything that makes it stand out. Try and list ten if you can and stay away from words like “better”. Saying you are better is only going to nauseate your audience and make them want to tune you out.
Get a company “voice”. Learn how to talk to your customers. How will you sound? How will you speak to them on your website, mail-outs, and various offers and promotions?
For more help on finding a “branding voice” see this article I wrote for Copyblogger.
3. Create Demand
Now that you know who “they” are and you know who “you” are, you can start to gain awareness. Begin to use your blog (and yes you should have one) to give away all that you can to educate, engage, and entertain that specific group.
Make sure you give them your best. Hold nothing back. The fear of “If I give away all my tricks they won’t hire me” is a lie. They will. You will earn their trust and gain their attention.
You might want to find groups on Facebook & Instagram where you can simply be a voice who speaks into that category, offering advice and feedback to your audience.
4. Capture Leads
Imagine you are going fishing. You know what you want to catch, so now what tactic is best for that specific fish (worm, topwater, trout line, etc.)?
What can you offer at this stage that they would find valuable?
How-To eBook Checklist / Guide Datasheets
Free Consultation with a Specialist
Buyers Guide for your Product – you get the idea.
Copywriting is crucial. If you are not a copywriter – hire one! Make sure that what you write is attractive and persuasive with strong calls to action.
5. Nurture Leads.
A lead has subscribed. They “opted in”. They are following you on social media perhaps. Continue to provide them with engaging & educational content. Keep at it! Set up ways you can converse with them as needed (email, surveys, etc.).
If you have done steps 1-5 well then all you have to do now is… ASK. Make sure you know what their needs are and offer them only what you think will be the most beneficial for them.
7. Close, Deliver & Satisfy.
Give em what you promised. Make sure you are specific on deadlines and action steps that they need to receive your services.
8. Referrals & Follow/Up
They hired you! It went well. The job is done.
But you are not.
Make sure and continue the conversation. Be sure and find out what their experience was like and give them ways to tell others about you. When a customer becomes a fan you have scored big! Make sure to optimize their voice.
If it didn’t go well (and yes it happens to us all), their feedback is still valuable. Our critics are also our coaches. Make notes of their experience with you and seek ways you can rectify the problem. Make sure you leave yourself a note of their comments to return to and use as a tool to self-correct or improve your business.
Back to what I said earlier, if you get frustrated or confused with the zillion+1 tips, articles, and books out there telling you how to get more business, just remember…
Marketing is about relationships. Real people. Real lives. Treat people well and it will come back to you.